General Secretary Arne Strate explains why European Outdoor Group has decided to open to formally include stakeholders from across the value chain.
At the last Annual Assembly of European Outdoor Group, our member companies almost unanimously decided to take a major step forward: EOG will now open to a much larger set of companies and organizations. I am convinced that this will create positive change for the entire industry – not least when it comes to sustainability.
When EOG was founded in 2003, the organization was only meant for outdoor brands. Retailers came on board a decade later in 2014, and technology providers like Gore and Primaloft in 2016. We also opened up to associations like Scandinavian Outdoor Group, free of charge though without granting them the right to vote. At the start in 2003, EOG consisted of 19 brands – today we have over 110 members.
Though encouraged by the growth, the last years have made it clear to us that we need more stakeholders onboard to draw closer to the full potential of collective industry impact.
Large challenges require large networks
Though Outdoor is fortunate to have many ambitious, pioneering companies, most of the larger challenges and questions tackled by the EOG require involvement and support from the entire value chain. This is especially true when it comes to sustainability. Here, we need to not only collaborate all the way upstream to material suppliers but also invite the wider outdoor community on the opposite end.
Our projects and initiatives like Single Use Plastics, Supply Chain Decarbonization and The Microfiber Consortium for example, are already (or will be soon) open to companies and organizations outside the EOG. In most issues, we know exactly who we need around the table to achieve our goals and are already working with them on an informal basis.
By opening up EOG partnership to a broader group of stakeholders, we can now formalize these partnerships and establish a much better network for working with sustainability projects all along the value chain and get the right people to sit down with us around the table.
From recycling plants to academia
So, who is invited to join EOG in this new arrangement? It can be everyone from manufacturers, recyclers, leather tanning companies, media organizations, third-party logistics providers, design agencies and academia. Our membership committee will evaluate the applications and we have set a goal of around ten new members per year.
However, while we are opening up to new partners at the table, we believe that the core of our industry still needs to steer the European Outdoor Group. This means that, as before, the voting will still be reserved for outdoor brands, retailers, and technology providers.
I see this opening up as a reflection of EOG’s values and as a logical next step. We firmly believe in collaboration and sharing knowledge, engagement, and resources and have witnessed time and again that there is strength in numbers.
Together with our new members, the outdoor industry will be empowered to take even greater steps. This will be good for our industry – and let us make sure it is also good for the planet.
Photo: Mael BALLAND/Unsplash. Illustration: Susan Larsen