More Doing, Less Talking
The June Outdoor by ISPO show was the first summer show from ISPO post-lockdown and the atmosphere was charged, as much welcomed human-to-human (H2H) communication and collaboration under the blue skies of Munich, generated a feel-good buzz.
The positive vibe at the show was further heightened as the European Outdoor Group (EOG) announced that the European outdoor industry is booming. In fiscal year 2021, it produced record sales of €6.2 billion (US $6.5 billion), an increase of 19 percent over the previous year’s total. German-speaking countries formed the biggest sales-generating region at more than €2.2 billion (US $2.3 billion), a jump of 14 percent.
While strong sales figures sparked conversation in the convention hall, the topic of sustainability continues to reign supreme. That said, the message at the June Outdoor by ISPO show was a little less conversation and a lot more action is needed, and not just in apparel and equipment, ingredients and manufacturing processes, but also in the impact we have, as individuals, in the pursuit of outdoor activities.
The global torrent of promises from companies on sustainability – reducing impacts to conserve our environment – is rich in words. In the textile industry, we are making inroads with cleaner ingredients and greener textile processes. But, for what? There has to be more change.
Discussion of sustainable fabrics via Zoom from one air-conditioned office to another, negates the move forward. I am as guilty in that regard as the other participants in Zoom meetings, complete with a gas guzzling car outside. New ways of thinking have to come as a whole, in all aspects of our life, as the clock is ticking to slow the damage to our environment and control climate change.
Week after week, there is a conference on sustainability somewhere in the world, and this is now creating a response of ‘blah, blah, blah’ by many. We have heard it all before. It’s time for conscious consumerism to take hold by all involved.
Taking a Cross-Industry Approach
This is where Outdoor by ISPO offers a new outlook: Inviting members of multiple industries to discuss how we can all work together. Themes centered around sustainability, regenerative business practices and innovative materials, with additional talks focused on supply-chain disruptions and resource shortages.
During the show, a meeting organized by the ISPO Group in cooperation with the EOG, with more than two dozen high-ranking representatives of different industries, spoke about ways that commercial success could be combined with the protection and regeneration of people, societies and nature. Climate change is a cross industry problem, but by working together solutions can be found.
Leading German brand Vaude proved a valid point at Outdoor by ISPO. Its booth represented a back-to-basics attitude, with renewable furniture and marketing promises and statements written on recycled cardboard. Vaude puts its money where its mouth is. The brand’s sustainability DNA is incredibly strong, from manufacturing in Germany to climate neutral goals. Vaude’s latest mission is to ‘Wear Less, Achieve More’ with climate-neutral outdoor equipment.
If any industry is going to push for greater environmental responsibility, it is the outdoors sector. Buyers, textile suppliers, brand developers and retailers alike all have a common connection that goes beyond business to a love of the great outdoors. This was reflected throughout Outdoor by ISPO in the camaraderie, enthusiasm and the excitement of meeting up again. Based on the
positive energy and deep discussions that took place at the show, new developments will arise and generate needed changes to protect the future. Watch this space!
Despite a high-spirited show, the war in Ukraine was not forgotten: a rallying cry of ‘sport, not war’ prevailed. Athletes for Ukraine had a booth inviting visitors to show their support with a cross sign gesture on the chest to add to the photo wall.
Started by Jens Steinigen, 1992 Biathlon Olympic gold medalist, the non-profit organization has the backing of major sports competitors, and the backing of all levels of the sports industry. Organizing aid transports to the Ukrainian border and returning to Germany with women and children has become routine.