EOG General Secretary Arne Strate makes the case that it’s better for the Outdoor industry to lead the charge towards sustainability together than be caught joining late in the game.
When we look at sustainable innovations and solutions within our industry, we sometimes forget that change is expensive. Circularity, for instance, demands huge investments, among material suppliers, manufacturing, logistics etc. It’s not an add on to the regular business model, it requires strategic shifts and financial resources.
There used to be a gap between the CSR departments and the top management level. Where the former saw possibilities – or necessities – the latter saw costs and challenges. Top management was more accustomed to paying attention to the sales departments.
Today, this has changed within the outdoor industry. CEO’s are realizing the need to act, and the sustainability professionals definitely have their attention. On a strategic level, the timing can be difficult. What are competitors doing? Is it better to wait and see what works best, or become a pioneer and be able to communicate your efforts and achievements before the rest?
There are also risks in being slow. Looking back, we see many brands that never thought phasing out harmful PFC’s would be needed – let alone legislated. These are difficult waters to navigate. Therefore, the more we can collaborate within the industry, the better. Sustainability professionals and CEO’s. Suppliers, brands and retailers – and competitors. The good news is that among most members of the European Outdoor Group, the readiness is there.
Illustration: Susan Larsen