For the second year in a row, climate change has been the focus of the Outdoor + Snow Show Kickoff Breakfast, the official opening of our annual industry event, because if we’re going to be successful in the tight window we have, it’s going to take the continued attention and collaborative effort from every facet of our industry.
Last year at the Outdoor + Snow Show, we launched the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership (OBCP), an alliance amongst SIA, Outdoor Industry Association and the National Ski Areas Association to galvanize the impact of the $887 outdoor business sector to address climate policy.
As we planned the event this year, it was clear that continued attention to climate change has to be our number one priority, and that we needed to continue to build upon the OBCP framework we launched last year.
Therefore, at the 2020 Outdoor + Snow Show Kickoff Breakfast climate change took center stage. In his opening remarks, SIA president Nick Sargent made it clear that climate change was an organizational priority, that we are going to lead on this and called upon the industry to become more engaged with us. “If we don’t have winter, we don’t have business. We must take action. You all need to take action.”
Then, with the Outdoor Industry Association, we announced SIA’s partnership in the Climate Action Corps, a platform that gives companies the guidance to measure, plan and reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We’re excited to provide this resource to every SIA member to help them address their emissions to meet the science-based targets.
And to close the breakfast, with our OBCP partners, we hosted an hour-long discussion about climate change, specifically the need for bold leadership from our business leaders. In the absence of federal action on climate, businesses need to step up and lead now, and with the outdoor industry’s economic impact and our direct dependence on a stable and pristine outdoor environment, we are perfectly positioned to lead.
Moderated by Kate Williams, CEO of One Percent of the Planet, a discussion took place between business leaders from in, and outside of the outdoor industry who are exhibiting the type of bold leadership that’s needed now: The North Face’s Tim Bantle, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Tyler LaMotte, Ben Stuart from Bank of the West and Nancy Hirshberg from The Crossroads Initiative.
The goal of this early-morning discussion was to provide insights and actionable next steps from business leaders and peers to every other business, big and small, to effectively address climate change. How can every business lead on climate, starting today?
Here are a few of the main takeaways:
- Engagement on climate policy is one of the most powerful tools we have. As an economic powerhouse, our industry has an effective lever to drive policy outcomes. We need to use it now, and our business leaders should consider using the platform they have to gain the attention of policymakers both at the federal and state level.
- Achieving alignment and buy-in across all facets of your company is critical, especially when considering setting emissions targets. Meeting science-based targets is a challenge, but with buy-in and contributions from across your company, and a corporate commitment to achieving them, the focus is clear and the task much easier. No matter how big or small your company is, we all have an important role in this.
- Globally, since 2015, banks have invested over 1.9 trillion dollars into fossil fuel-related projects. We all should better understand where our money goes after it is deposited in our bank. Is your bank financing fossil fuel? Are you working to solve the climate crisis only to have your money financing it? Look into it.
- Meeting the science-based targets is going to take a complete overhaul of how we do business. But instead of seeing this as an insurmountable challenge, think of it as a positive step towards evolution and innovation. It’s good for the planet, good for the long-term health of your company and your consumers are demanding it.
- Be a force for change in your community. If your community isn’t taking the urgent action needed, leverage the local influence your company has to be an example for how it can be done. Become active in local politics and community organizations, meet with other businesses and nearby communities to guide them along the path to carbon neutral.
- And finally, start now. With the window of solving climate change closing quickly, none of us can afford to wait any longer. Use your voice on policy – we’re inviting you to join us and the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership on Capitol Hill in May and we’ll send details soon. The science-based targets have clearly outlined carbon emissions goals that are achievable, so go for it and let the Climate Action Corps be your guide.
Through this transparent dialogue amongst bold climate leaders, the collaboration amongst our industry’s trade associations and the policy and emissions goal setting platforms available to all of our members now, we hope that taking real action on climate accelerates throughout our industry. Solving climate change is achievable, and its going to take a dedicated effort from all of us to get there.
“Businesses who fail to address the climate crisis are going to be increasingly out of step with their customers and the next generation. Our only chance of combatting climate change is for businesses, consumers, governments, everyone – coming together and prioritizing environmental action.” – Tim Bantle, The North Face
“In the absence of bipartisan political will, leadership from the business community is vitally important. Business leaders are problem solvers. They are well suited to rally the nation behind a bold vision so we can come together and get the job done. The leadership skills of the business community are greatly needed at this critical time in history.” – Nancy Hirshberg