From Assessment to Action: Outdoor Industry Sustainability Leaders Gather for Annual Sustainability Insights Conference

July 20, 2017

BOULDER, Colo. (July 20, 2017) – Outdoor industry sustainability professionals will gather in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 25, for the annual Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Insights Conference. Launched three years ago to supplement the bi-annual OIA Sustainability Working Group meetings, the Sustainability Insights Conference is an opportunity to gain insight into the workings of the SWG and to learn about emerging trends around sustainable supply chain practices.

With the Higg Index adoption campaign in full swing, the theme of this year is “Assessment to Action.” The Higg Index, a tool with its origins in the outdoor industry, helps brands and factories of any size harmonize and communicate the environmental and social impacts of their supply chains. This is the second year that the industry-benchmarking results of those outdoor industry companies who have adopted the Higg Index will be presented at the conference.

“For the past ten years, the OIA Sustainability Working Group has worked collaboratively to identify and scale best practices in our shared supply chains,” said Beth Jensen, senior director of sustainable business innovation at OIA. “With increased adoption of the Higg Index, the Sustainability Insights Conference is a forum for outdoor industry sustainability professionals to learn what other companies and industries are doing to assess and improve their sustainability performance.”

The topics presented during the morning Sustainability Insights Conference have been selected to help provide guidance on how we might improve industry Higg Index scores. Participants will hear from sustainability professionals on packaging, chemical substitutions, responsible rubber sourcing and mitigating climate impacts through operational initiatives.

Adam Gendell of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition will be presenting the latest and greatest sustainable packaging trends and providing insight on where the industry can focus its efforts.  Zachary Angelini of Timberland, Evan Walker of the World Wildlife Fund and Samantha St. Pierre of the Rainforest Alliance will be presenting some of the challenges in the rubber supply chain, as well as projects underway to help increase transparency and mitigate deforestation.

A panel presentation, featuring VF Corporation, Mountain Equipment Co-op and WRI Science Based Targets, will provide insight on significant operational initiatives that companies have implemented internally, including approaches to setting a price on carbon internally and how they went about it, as well as the challenges faced and how they were overcome.

A chemicals substitution panel will discuss the challenges of implementing new chemical technology from the point of view of a retailer, brand, mill (supplier) and chemical supplier.

The morning conference will be followed by an afternoon of Higg Index sessions, including a demonstration of the effective use of product tools and a presentation of outdoor industry performance along the various Higg Index indicators, from materials to packaging to end of use.

All Sustainability Insights Conference attendees receive a complimentary pass to Outsiders Ball.

Check out the full agenda for the Sustainability Insights Conference and the Sustainability Working Group meetings here.


About Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1,200 manufacturers, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org.