Monday, December 11, 2023

How the Outdoor Industry Is Setting the Benchmark for Climate Action: Report


The Climate Action Corps, a consortium led by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), has released its 2022 Impact Report.

The new OIA climate report delineates the considerable and vital advancements the group’s members have made in measuring, setting benchmarks, reducing emissions, and advocating for policy changes in Congress.

Since its inception in 2020, the Corps, which counts Patagonia, REI, The North Face, Timberland, and L.L. Bean among its members, has seen a substantial increase in its engagement and achievements.

The OIA Climate Action Corps is a unique coalition formed to unite different segments of the outdoor business industry, irrespective of their size or stage of climate action. Its goal is to speed up progress in diminishing greenhouse gas emissions, advocating for sturdy climate policy, and capitalizing on nature’s power to mitigate carbon emissions.

Courtesy Patagonia

The report details that 99 percent of its members have examined operational greenhouse gas emissions, which include Scope 1 and 2 emissions. This is a notable rise from 96 percent in the previous year and 84 percent in 2020. For Scope 3 emissions, 91 percent of members are analyzing their value chain emissions, showing an increase from 83 percent last year and 69 percent in 2020.

Furthermore, targets for Scope 1 and 2 have been set by 87 percent of the members, with 76 percent having goals for Scope 3 emissions. A total of 13 members are actively involved in four Impact CoLabs, along with seven who have completed two CoLabs, all aimed at accelerating the reduction of emissions. Seventy-six percent have taken part in advocacy actions, ranging from endorsement of climate solutions to direct correspondence with the U.S. Congress or administration officials.

OIA’s President, Kent Ebersole, commended the collective efforts, stating, “We applaud the bold leadership of our Climate Action Corps members and their commitment to collective action and sustainable growth. But together, our combined efforts can drive innovation, mobilize millions of consumers, drive meaningful policy change, and be a model for other sectors to follow. Our industry’s long history of collaboration has shown time and again that we can unite to confront even the most complex issues.”

A shared vision of environmental stewardship is common among the Corps’ members. Danielle Fraser of REI emphasized the Corps’ role in building coalitions to address environmental challenges, “REI’s mission is to connect every person to the power of the outdoors and engage them in the fight to protect it,” he said.

“The OIA Climate Action Corps has been a key partner in helping us build coalitions to solve some of our biggest environmental challenges. Their platforms allow brands to advocate for collective environmental shifts in the outdoor industry, they educate members on regulations and policies, and they offer support to ensure every brand is moving forward with their climate goals.”

camping under the stars
Photo courtesy Josh Hild

Kristen Bandurski of Vasque spoke of the growth in sustainability efforts since joining the Corps. “Climate Action Corps has created a unique community of support for its membership,” Bandurski said. “Learning from other brands and how they approach and structure their sustainability initiatives has been valuable and reassuring we are all on this journey together.”

Brian O’Connor, Director of Sustainability & Global Compliance at L.L.Bean, noted how instrumental the Corps has been in achieving their corporate sustainability goals.

“L.L.Bean has always had the environment as one of our key stakeholders,” he said. “OIA’s Climate Action Corps has been instrumental in helping us turn our corporate intentions into impact in two ways: 1) the resources and collaboration available to members helped us build the internal knowledge and expertise to drive results, and 2) having the entire outdoor industry behind this effort was empowering and gave us the confidence that these aggressive goals could be achieved by working together across our global supply chain.”

Ebersole added, “We are so proud to see our industry rally around the climate crisis and take bold, science-based action to combat it. While each individual action to address this crisis has an impact, together as an industry and as a collective of Climate Action Corps members, we have greater potential to catalyze sustainable growth and affect systemic change. The time is now to take bold action.”

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