The European outdoor industry sits in a key position in the fight against climate change. Its customer base sees the impact of climate change first hand; from the shrinking glaciers and decreased snowpack to increased rockfall and extreme weather events.
The industry is fully dependent on a stable climate for its economic future, but also plays a role in climate breakdown through the emissions its operations cause, over 80% of which are produced outside Europe.
Internet Fusion and the more progressive sections of the outdoor industry have been taking steps to cut their impact, improve sustainability and do business differently, moving forward ahead of legislation. Notably, Internet Fusion has cut its direct carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) by over 93% since its 2018 baseline and has been operating with 99% plastic free packaging for a number of years.
Without regulatory backing, however, even the most well-coordinated initiatives will struggle to gain broader currency. A group of businesses has thus teamed up with the non-profit Protect our Winters to formulate a list of demands, asking policy makers to catch up, to produce policies that support increased sustainability and penalise bad practices.
These demands will be presented in an open letter to European policy makers ahead of COP27 and Protect Our Winters is calling for all heads of the outdoor industry, that care about the planet, the outdoor places that the outdoor community relies on and the economic future of their sector to sign the letter and join this movement for a better future.
”We don’t have time to fall further behind. Every chance to speed up emission reduction must be taken. As part of the Outdoor industry who live by and for nature, as business leaders, we stand united with strength in numbers asking political leaders to radically ramp up ambition and back it with regulation.”
David Ekelund, co-founder/co-CEO Icebug,
“At Burton we’ve worked hard to model a sustainable business of the future, but individual action is not enough to address the global threat of climate change. We urgently need bold legislation to shake up business as usual. The Outdoor Industry must unite to preserve natural spaces that sustain our businesses and life itself. We can wait no more. Please join our collective call for climate action at COP 27.”
Ali Kenney, Chief Strategy Officer, Burton Snowboards,
“The climate crisis calls for leadership;the outdoor industry, with its deep-rooted connection to nature, must be that leader for the wider commercial sector.”
Joe Murray, CEO Internet Fusion ltd,
"We, as the outdoor industry, not only need to address the climate emergency, we want to. We want to be a leader in this space and to do that, we demand legislation that rewards us to be a force for good"
Julien Durant, co-founder, Picture
Full letter below:
The outdoor industry demands bold action from COP27 to reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability.
As representatives of the European outdoor industry we’re already taking bold action to reduce our impact – but we need stronger policy support to do more.
Right now, companies that take action to reduce their impact are at a disadvantage in the market. As delegations from around the world meet in Sharm El-Sheikh for COP27, we believe it’s the right time to address the issue.
Why? The conference’s theme this year is loss and damage – and our industry is already seeing climate change’s effects. We’ve seen shorter winters, melting glaciers, droughts and floods. We’re losing green and blue spaces. Local communities are being devastated. And biodiversity is dwindling rapidly.
This isn’t about the effects on our industry of losing outdoor spaces. It’s about climate breakdown threatening our entire way of life.
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 and 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.
3. Help businesses move to renewable energy for manufacturing.
We need to incentivise renewable energy to accelerate manufacturing – and this needs to be done fairly 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 which choose renewable energy to manufacture shouldn’t be at a market disadvantage compared to those who use fossil fuels.
How can the outdoor industry help?
We want to help policymakers reach our climate goals - but we need their help to do it. We’re ready and willing to work together, and we want to keep on advocating for strong, practical and pragmatic policy.
Members of the outdoor industry have been working hard to improve how we do business, but we need policies that both support positive action and penalise harmful practices. We’re ambitious, we’re ready to collaborate and we want to push the agenda. Now is the time to create the policies to let us do it. We the undersigned demand maximum ambition from those negotiating at COP27 that matches the scale of the climate crises we are all facing.
- Picture, (Julien Durant, co-founder)
- Icebug, (David Ekelund, co-founder/co-CEO)
- Burton Snowboards, (Ali Kenney, Chief Strategy Officer)
- Internet Fusion Group, (Joe Murray, CEO)
Enquiries - email@example.com
- Internet Fusion - https://internetfusion.co.uk/
- Protect Our Winters - https://protectourwinters.eu/the-outdoor-industry-demands-climate-policy/
- Outreach document - HERE