The EUROPEAN OUTDOOR GROUP (EOG) held its 2021 Annual Assembly on last month, via Zoom. During the meeting, EOG members agreed to a proposal to accept new members from the wider value chain. They will now be able to apply to join the association in the non-voting Associated Membership category.
Members approved increases to membership fees (the first change since 2014) and a reorganisation of fee tiers. The latter is better aligned with EOG projects and will support the greater scope and scale of the association’s work. Changes to the EOG Board were also confirmed, along with a programme of activity and budget for the year ahead.
The proposal to extend the Associated Membership category to the wider value chain reflects the way that the outdoor industry and EOG have developed. As the sector has matured, the association has expanded its range of services and projects. It already works closely with many organisations that are not predominantly rooted in the outdoor sector. These partnerships are essential for continuing to build a range of programmes in areas such as CSR, sustainability and market insights.
For commercial organisations joining from the wider value chain, Associated Membership will have the same fee structure as for Full Membership. They will have access to EOG projects but no right to vote at meetings.
As with any applicant to join the EOG, all decisions on accepting new members will continue to be made by the membership committee, independent of the board and executive team.
Arne Strate, EOG general secretary, said, “Opening up the Associated Membership category to the wider value chain provides a great opportunity to significantly enhance the work that we do on behalf of our members and the whole industry.
“We already work with many partners who are not outdoor companies in the accepted sense, but who influence and make significant contributions to our sector and to EOG projects. We are delighted that our members so overwhelmingly recognised the importance of facilitating closer and more formal cooperation in this way.”
Changes to membership fees
Members at the Assembly backed proposals to increase membership fees for the first time since 2014, along with a reorganisation of the fee tiers. The changes are designed to ensure that fees better reflect the scope and scale of the EOG’s projects and support the continued development of that work as required by the association’s members.
The new tiers mean that that largest companies pay the highest fees, providing a fairer financial structure for membership. As with the other proposals, these changes were overwhelmingly supported by members at the Annual Assembly.
Changes to the EOG Board
During the Assembly, members approved a series of changes to the EOG Board. Four members stood down, either due to a change of role, retirement or reaching the end of their term on the board – Oliver Pabst, Nicolai Christensen, Antje von Dewitz and Hans-Hermann Deters.
Five new members were elected to the board – David Ekelund (CEO, Icebug), Martin Riebel (CEO, Schwan Stabilo Outdoor), Matthias Gebhard (MD, Bergfreunde), David Camps (CEO, Original Buff) and Jan Lorch (CSO, Vaude). In addition, it was confirmed that existing board member Matt Gowar had agreed to take on the role of vice president (formerly Antje von Dewitz). Michel Gogniat continues in the role of treasurer.
Mark Held, EOG president, said, “We are grateful to Oliver, Nicolai, Antje and Hans-Hermann. All four have made valuable contributions to the EOG during their time as board members, and that has been especially important as we have addressed the distinct challenges of the last two years. In particular, I must highlight Antje’s support for me in her role as our vice president.
“Looking forward, we’re delighted to welcome our new board members. All five are excellent candidates and bring experience and expertise from different parts of our sector, and from different areas of Europe. We do need to improve the gender balance on our board and that is one of the priorities that we will be addressing.”
Whilst the gender balance of the EOG management team is 50/50, no women sit on the Board of Directors of 11 industry representatives.
Gowar, CEO of Equip Outdoor Technologies UK Ltd, added, “I am delighted and honoured to take up the role of EOG vice president which allows me the chance to give back to an industry that has given me so much. I thank Antje for all her support and look forward to continuing the work she has already started.
“The outdoor industry must work together to address the big issues which are affecting us all – leading for an ethical and sustainable industry, preserving the outdoors for future generations and getting more people active outdoors. These are areas I’ve championed in my own business. This is a great opportunity for me to support the EOG and wider industry, to share my learning, and to help shape the industry we are all so proud of.”
EOG work programme for 2022
Members were presented with the 2021 EOG ANNUAL REPORT, which outlines key activities and achievements last year and the future focus for each department.
The EOG work programme for 2022 was agreed during the Annual Assembly. Key project priorities will include:
- CSR and sustainability – the carbon reduction project
- Market insights – further development of the Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report
- Events – developing OutDoor by ISPO into a compelling tool for sector and working with Outdoor Sports Valley on the successful return of the European Outdoor Summit in October
- Continued development of other existing projects and initiatives and in driving member and industry collaboration
- Continued support of conservation of nature (led by the European Outdoor Conservation Association) and of getting Europe active outdoors (led by the It’s Great Out There Coalition).