DENVER – The US Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has released its first-ever State of Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry report. The report aims to establish a baseline to measure the outdoor industry’s sustainability performance and provides guidance to prioritise future initiatives, while highlighting also examples of proactive approaches to sustainability that companies are taking to improve their businesses and positively impact their bottom lines.
Key takeaways from the report suggest sustainability is a core value to the outdoor industry regardless of company size, product type or location. The report suggests a remarkable 87 per cent of respondents are using the Higg Index to guide internal sustainability work. It also found 75 per cent of participating companies have at least one employee who is responsible for sustainability efforts in their organisation.
Products and materials emerged as a priority for all sizes of companies, with 69 per cent of respondents prioritising their efforts accordingly.
Said Beth Jensen, senior director of sustainable business innovation at OIA: “The outdoor industry has done a fantastic job flexing the muscles of the US$887bn outdoor recreation economy to protect our public lands; now it’s time to showcase how we have led on another core effort that directly connects to environmental conservation: product and supply chain responsibility. This first-ever comprehensive industry report begins to do just that, and our goal is to use this – and future reports – to measure progress, identify areas for improvement and illustrate the importance of sustainable practices as a business imperative,”
For over ten years, the members of OIA’s Sustainability Working Group (SWG) have been collectively tackling supply chain issues important to the industry, including chemicals management, animal welfare, social responsibility and fair labor practices in factories, microfibre shedding in oceans and waterways and carbon reduction strategies.
“This report provides a wonderful opportunity to recognise the outdoor industry’s progress toward a standard practice of responsible, sustainable business,” said Danielle Cresswell, senior sustainability manager for Klean Kanteen. “That said, it is imperative that we continue building on the 10-plus years of advances led by the Sustainability Working Group to broaden our industry’s participation and deepen our innovation for lasting solutions.”
“REI was founded upon a love of the outdoors and the pursuit of a better way of doing business,” added Matt Thurston, director of sustainability, brand stewardship, and impact for REI. “Today, we continue that model by working with our brand partners to advance more sustainable business practices. The OIA State of Sustainability in the Outdoor Industry report will help us gauge progress across the industry and engage partners around the most relevant advances in sustainability practices.”