Last month, at the invitation of the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) and their partner, Peak 63, SIA had the opportunity to join a meeting of the FESI-Winter Sports Network (FESI-WSN) hosted at the ELAN headquarters just outside of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Making up the FESI-WSN coalition is the market share of the global alpine ski industry – brands such as Atomic, Rossignol, Volkl, Salomon, Fischer, Head, and many more. The goal: to define how this coalition of powerful brands can work together to accelerate our industry’s impact on climate change. SIA’s goal was to represent the North American market and become a partner in the global climate conversation.
For two days, we discussed the urgency of climate change, how individual brands were responding to it, and the importance of working together by sharing knowledge and expertise with each other and using our collective might to tackle our supply chains, meet the upcoming and ambitious EU climate goals that will impact how we all do business, and solve other important issues such as our industry’s need for circularity.
SIA’s Head of Advocacy, Chris Steinkamp kicked off the meeting with a keynote about SIA’s work in the US, the urgency and the winter outdoor industry’s unique advantage to help solve climate, and five areas where every business should focus their climate action planning. For example, that systemic change is the only path to climate stability and that climate must be embedded in every business strategy, of the importance of climate policy, and finally, that every business’s climate action journey is different, and that by looking beyond the typical “scopes” and exploring each brand’s unique levers, meaningful climate action is achievable by every business.
After a winter like Europe just had, it was obvious the impacts of climate change was on everyone’s minds. There were leaders representing seven countries in the room – all compelled to travel for this important conversation because tackling climate change is a business priority. It was inspiring to be part of such a committed and collaborative group of industry leaders meeting the moment.
It was also very evident that the winter outdoor industry is truly a global one and that we can’t effectively tackle climate change without global alignment and action. For example, in most cases, EU “motherships” are setting the climate action planning and sustainability strategies for their global subsidiaries, so if we’re going to have deeper engagement here in the US, we must work alongside FESI-WSN to open the lines of communication.
Secondly, an amazing conversation hosted by Jerome Pero, FESI’s Secretary General about the impacts of EU legislation on the hard goods industry made it clear that the EU isn’t waiting to address climate. There are numerous regulations coming soon focused on emissions, circularity, greenwashing, supply chain, packaging, R&D, reporting, and more, that will determine how brands must act, design and produce their goods for sale in the EU. These ambitious regulations will help transform the winter outdoor industry and how our members must address climate going forward.
Where does this all lead? We all know that we’re out of time for just more talk. Throughout the meeting, we all agreed on a set of meaningful initiatives that the group will implement between now and 2028, ending with brands volunteering to collaborate and spearhead each of these initiatives through to completion.
Thank you to FESI and Peak 63 for the invitation to join this amazing event, and to all of the forward-thinking winter outdoor brands we met in Slovenia. It was an inspirational few days, reminding us that there is hope, that there is real action being taken by some of the most influential brands in our industry, and that this level of commitment must be a global one by all of us.
We look forward to the next meeting at Atomic in the Fall.
SIA is the trade association of the winter outdoor industry. Through SIA membership, brands, destinations, retailers, service providers and nonprofits solve immediate business problems, adapt to changing pressures, save and grow. #TheBusinessofWinter.