Organizers of this year’s ISPO Awards have announced a new “greenwashing pre-check” be applied to products nominees. Suston reaches out to Louisa Smith, who will be conducting the checks, to find out what she’ll be watching out for.

What is the background for introducing a greenwashing check to the ISPO Awards? To what degree has this been seen as a significant problem in the industry?

With sustainability the new norm, greenwashing has become a more notable problem. To many, greenwashing automatically alludes to bad practice and misleading product info; however, for some brands, greenwashing can occur indirectly. That’s why looking at the ingredients and manufacturing processes ensures additional confirmation to the jury members judging the products.


What role will you be playing in this check?

My involvement is to check the application information, but also question at times the reason why an ingredient may have been used that the brand involved highlights as added sustainability.

Pre-checks will always be based on the data given by the applicant, and it is also part of my role to check the applicant‘s data for conclusiveness, to question illogical information or to point out missing information. We then use this pre-check to ask the applicant for more information, if needed.

All of this is incorporated into a brief, which is ultimately provided (in addition to the application and product itself) to the jury as a basis for decision-making.


What are the expected benefits that this check will have on the quality of the awards and participating brands?

The benefit of the pre-check ensures a more efficient judging process. In Q1, on close inspection of a couple of the brands, we found additional benefits from ingredients they used that also added an extra level towards sustainability that they hadn’t thought to include in their application.

When it comes to sustainability, every little counts, from water saving to circular economy. In Q1 of the ISPO Award it was clear the products all aspired to delivery functionality and performance, with responsible design and sourcing essential for a reduced footprint.


Is there a checklist or general “rule of thumb” that you can share?

With products so varied the first questions is, “Why?“ Why has an ingredient been used, and what are the benefits? This is followed by “What?” What are the benefits the brands’ claim delivers to the consumer and to the environment?

And most of all, there’s the human element to consider – namely inquisitiveness! What is the rhyme and reason behind potential ISPO Award-winning products.

(You can also check out Suston’s Greenwashing Guide here!)


About the ISPO Award

The ISPO Award is an annual award presented to innovative products in the sports industry. It is organized by ISPO, a leading trade fair for sports and outdoor activities. The award recognizes outstanding products that demonstrate exceptional quality, design, and functionality, as well as sustainability and social responsibility.

The winners are selected by a panel of expert judges from the fields of design, product development, and sports retail. The award is highly respected in the sports industry and serves as a prestigious marketing tool for the winning companies.
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Photos: Messe München GmbH

Jonathan Eidse
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