Driving Change in the Industry

Outdoor brands are continually leading the way towards a sustainable industry. Twice a year, Outdoor Retailer offers them a responsible platform for sharing.

The outdoor industry has years of leadership in sustainable practices, and many of those efforts are recognized at the Outdoor Retailer trade shows. The B2B events, for example, bring the outdoor community together to do business. They also provide a platform for the industry to share discoveries, hurdles, and wins on the path to reducing impact.

Just as brands have been making strides in responsible product development, Outdoor Retailer has similarly worked with vendors and partners to drive change in event production. Recycling efforts, refillable bottle programs, and the reuse of materials are just a few examples of initiatives that have long been a part of the show.

Farewell, single-use bottles…

New for the show’s Summer Market in 2019, Outdoor Retailer was able to eliminate the sale of single-use bottles with support from the venue, the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, and concessionaire, Centerplate.

“Outdoor Retailer is a platform for the outdoor industry, and our show reflects the values of our community,” said Jennifer Pelkey, Senior Marketing Director, Outdoor Retailer.

“The eliminate-single-use-bottles campaign is something we’ve worked on together with brands like CamelBak, Klean Kanteen, Stanley, and Nalgene on for more than ten years, and this represents a milestone we’ve now been able to achieve in Denver.”

…And carpets too

Starting with the June 2019 show, Outdoor Retailer also eliminated aisle carpet. The show had been using carpet made from up to 50% post-industrial fibers which was returned to the manufacturer for reuse or recycling. Getting rid of it saved 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel from shipping, preventing 12 metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere.

These efforts laid the groundwork for subsequent shows in the convention center to do the same, as well as events in other markets. And through initiating a sustainability audit at the summer show, Outdoor Retailer plans to apply those learnings to the show, as well as provide more sustainability solutions for those attending and exhibiting.

But, the bigger sustainability stories at the Outdoor Retailer shows are always evident in the brands and retailers. They’re finding innovative approaches to reduce impact in products and processes – from new fabrics to cleaner manufacturing. Many are working with the Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainability Working Group to identify ways to improve. And, all are inspiring each other to make social and environmental stewardship a priority.

“Changes were achieved because individuals and brands are willing to look at their own impact,” Pelkey said.

“There’s a lot to be said for groundswell support and an environment where individuals and organizations accept wholesale changes to move initiatives forward. As we all plan ahead now, whether as brands or retailers, we all need to consider our own choices and the impact we want to have. Part of what Outdoor Retailer is doing, and will continue to do, is to make the choices our attendees have easier. The rest will be looking at ourselves and how we, as an event, can achieve not only a net zero impact, but a net positive impact.”

Outdoor Retailer
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