Outdoor Trade Show Sustainability Breakfast

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Outdoor Trade Show Sustainability Breakfast

RAB, owned by Equip Outdoor Technologies, sponsored the Sustainability Breakfast held for the first time at the annual Outdoor Trade Show last week. The event aimed to foster an exchange among outdoor industries’ stakeholders on how to achieve more sustainable business practices.

Andrew Denton opened proceedings, sharing the OUTDOOR INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION sustainability initiatives and partnerships – Net Zero, POW and Planet Neutral. Andy Green shared that the OIA Development Board has pledged that the industry will be net zero by 2030 and that a two-page summary has been produced on how brands can share the journey. Click HERE to download the document.

Debbie Read, Rab and Lowe Alpine CSR Manager, gave insights into their long-term sustainability strategy and steps to achieve Net Zero by 2030. The number and calibre of attendees demonstrated the vital role of environmental topics and the drive to find common solutions within the outdoor industries.

Jim Evans, Brand Director at Equip, explains, “It has been a long time since we have been able to come together like this and it was amazing to see so many people seize the opportunity to attend this breakfast event and talk to each other about such meaningful and important things.”

Read noted they have been climate neutral since last year and achieved second year verification a couple of months ago. Despite the pandemic, CEO Matt Gowar insisted they began the process in March. “The only way that we can address climate change is by taking responsibility and acting now. You can’t manage what you don’t measure so we started looking at the numbers in the business.  Once you have those numbers, you can set your targets and set plans.”

She noted that customers are now proud to wear obviously repaired garments, almost as a badge of honour, in their own commitment to change. Amongst practical initiatives undertaken, she added packaging is something which is emotionally engaging for consumers, stating, “They ignore the entire lifecycle of the product if it comes in a poly bag!”

So, poly bags on their consumer facing products have been adapted in size and they’re working with Scott Nelson on how to recycle them effectively. 50% of material used is currently recycled with the aim of that becoming 100%. Plus, hang tags have changed from a booklet to one label with a QR code, saving 300 kg of cardboard each season, and 20,000 kg of down has been saved from landfill by using recycled material.

The Brand Performance Check draws on Equip’s first SOCIAL REPORT, published in May 2021.

Equip has been awarded ‘Good’ status after a swift Brand Performance Check as the company approaches the end of its first year of FAIR WEAR membership. Fair Wear is a movement for change that seeks to push the garment industry towards the new normal: a world where working conditions are fair for the people who make our clothes.

Fair Wear Member Brands are committed to supporting garment workers’ rights to safe, dignified and properly paid employment, and making garment production fair for everyone. Every year, Fair Wear reviews the brand’s efforts by measuring how well they have assessed, identified and resolved issues with their suppliers.

The Fair Wear Brand Performance Check is a tool to assess how a Fair Wear member’s business practices improve labour conditions among their supply chain and contribute to more transparent and responsible relations with its manufacturing partners. Making the results of these checks open to the public ensures transparency and keeps member brands accountable.

Being awarded with ‘Good’ means that Equip is now permitted to use Fair Wear’s on-garment labels, enabling consumers to make an informed choice. The Fair Wear label signifies a brand’s commitment to implementing the highest standards in human rights and safe, responsible manufacturing.

Scott Nelson, Program Manager, EUROPEAN OUTDOOR GROUP, followed with practical insight and a passionate plea for collaboration, “We have a diamond-shaped industry. A lot of us will use the same suppliers, let’s get the brands together to collectively move in front of them to remove the impact. That collective action can take a bite out of our total industry carbon footprint. The reality is if we want to make change, we’re going to have to do it together.”

Dave Turnbull, Head of Access, Conservation & Environment at the British Mountaineering Council, said that every survey of its 75000 members confirms their number one priority is access and conservation with people calling for regenerative solutions to repair impacts of climate change.  He referred to the findings of the Dentsu report, ‘The Future of Retail, which referenced shopping by values, circularity, universal activism and regenerative retail.

You can watch a recording of the event HERE.

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