Eye on the Prize

Sustainability rakes in the awards on both sides of the Atlantic at this summer’s OutDoor by Ispo and Outdoor Retailer trade shows.

Product sustainability continues to be a winning concept for both retailers and customers, and it should come as no surprise that it’s an award-winner at the shows as well. As Nico Thomas, Product Manager for hardgoods at Globetrotter and a member of the Outstanding Outdoor award jury explains:

“The issues of sustainability and quality continue to be a high priority for retailers. Customers expect products to last a long time, to be produced in a resource-conserving manner and to be able to be repaired, if necessary.”

Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards

The summer season kicked off in Denver, where the winners of 9th annual Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards were announced on the first night of the show. Of the five categories, three had a solid sustainability or conservation focus. Under “Manufacturer,” for example, Vericool came out on top for its effort to eliminate wasteful styrofoam coolers with their own Ohana Cooler. Made from post-consumer paper waste, this affordable innovation is 100% recyclable, biodegradable, reusuable.

This year’s “Retailer” winner is a retailer with nothing for sale. Arrive describes itself as an outdoor experience company with a mission to help others enjoy the outdoors sustainably – without having to own gear. They do so by providing an easy alternative to buying, maintaining and storing gear – rental – with an extensive selection of outdoor gear available by mail across the continental US.

Several young environmentalists made the list of finalists, with the “Youth” winner going to Joseph Goldstein. Goldstein is the founder of Kids for the Boundary Waters, who through documentaries, social media and speaking across the US seeks to save the Boundary Waters – a vast wilderness straddling the US-Canada border between Ontario and Minnesota – from the threat of proposed sulfide-ore copper mines on its borders.

ISPO’s Outstanding Outdoor Awards

Later in the month, the brand-new show concept OutDoor by Ispo, Europe’s largest outdoor trade fair, was launched in Munich. Here, outstanding products were honored with the Outstanding Outdoor Award, with three out of four winners having strong sustainability profiles.

Vaude’s Redmont All-Weather Jacket walked away as “Sustainability” winner. Naturally-dyed GOTS organic cotton forms the bulk of this urban/outdoor wind and waterproof jacket – thereby eliminating substantial chemicals, pesticides and herbicides – and as a finishing touch the trims and logo applications are made using certified cork.

The “Comfort Performance” category winner went to The North Face’s Futurelight Jacket that uses an innovative nano-spinning technique to produce high-performance, waterproof, breathable and comfortable material. The fabric uses recycled materials, employs a production that cuts chemical consumption and is produced in a facility run on solar power.

Finally, the “Urban Outdoor” award went to Adidas’ Terrex Myshelter Parley Jacket. As Parley for the Ocean partners, Adidas seeks to eliminate plastic waste and has adopted the AIR sustainability mission to “avoid, intercept and redesign.” This jacket is made of 100% recycled polyester from intercepted ocean plastic.

Jonathan Fraenkel-Eidse
jonathan.eidse@norragency.com