As the European outdoor industry sits in a key position in the fight against climate change, with full dependence on a stable climate for its economic future, Protect our Winters is directly encouraging the more progressive sections of the outdoor industry to take steps to cut their impact, improve sustainability and do business differently, moving forward ahead of legislation.
To drive this change, Protect Our Winters took to the stage at Blue Earth Summit ’22 to launch an open letter pledge, with signatories including Burton Snowboards, North Face, Picture Organic, Surfdome (Internet Fusion Group) and Icebug, with more set to join the movement. The group of brands already signed up is working with Protect our Winters to formulate a list of demands, asking policy makers to catch up, legislate sustainability and publish bad practices.
Taking to the stage, Dan Yates, (Partnerships Manager, Protect our Winters) Adam Hall (Head of Sustainability, Internet Fusion), Gillian Rosh (Sustainability Specialist, Picture Organic Clothing) and Julian Lings (Senior Sustainability Manager, The North Face), called for attending brands to join the pledge to challenge climate policy at Cop27, for athletes representing them to lobby them for action, and for consumers to be step forward and push for participation in the pledge.
“The Blue Earth Summit is about inspiring action, and Protect our Winters today have done exactly that, live on stage. By calling out to the outdoor industry for action, drawing brands to sign their open letter, we can strengthen that pledge for European policy makers at Cop27. Here, from Bristol, we implore all those that care about the planet and have been inspired by the stories and news shared over the last 48 hours to sign the letter and join this movement for a better future” says Blue Earth Summit co-founder, Will Hayler. “We’re already seeing the impact of climate change on our outdoor environment and threatening our every walk of life. We now have the power and influence to collaboratively push for political, legislative change to protect our people and our planet. We must act now.”
Why does the outdoor industry need to act?
We’re a strong sector in an uncertain world. Our industry expects a consumer base of 195 million people by 2025 with a wholesale value of over 6 billion Euros. Our impacts are global, with over 80% of our emissions outside the EU – so we can only tackle our climate footprint by acting globally.
Our industry is already embracing existing legislation – but we need stronger policy to restrict heating to +1.5°C. We’ve identified three outcomes we need from COP27:
1. Incentivise the increased sustainability of business practices.
We need legislation that encourages industries to choose sustainable options over growth at all costs. This means offering incentives for businesses to create built-to-last products, offer repair services, support second hand options, provide rental programs and more. We need to give companies compelling reasons to choose business models that reduce emissions and encourage their customers to reduce their consumption.
2. Standardise measurements for products’ environmental impact.
Currently businesses can use a variety of methods to calculate the embodied carbon emissions of their products and choose which sustainability standards to apply. This makes it almost impossible for anyone – business or consumer – to compare products against each other. It also means regulators can’t incentivise products with lower emissions and better sustainability attributes or discourage less sustainable products with higher emissions. We need standard, mandatory ways of measuring these.
We need to incentivise renewable energy to accelerate manufacturing in a fair way for the emerging and lower-income economies where so many outdoor businesses manufacture. This means offering the support these countries need to move to lower carbon energy sources. Businesses that choose renewable energy to manufacture shouldn’t be at a market disadvantage compared to those who use fossil fuels.
Picture, (Julien Durant, co-founder)
Icebug, (David Ekelund, co-founder/co-CEO)
Burton Snowboards, (Emily Foster, Senior Manager, Environmental and Social Impact)
Internet Fusion Group, (Joe Murray, CEO)