With the winter outdoor industry still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19, it’s tough to look too far ahead and discuss the next big issue facing our industry. We’re all feeling the impacts of the sudden closures that forced our industry into survival mode back in March, and what made it even more challenging was that we didn’t see it coming. There are lessons to be learned here.
We’ve known about climate change for over thirty-five years, but since we’ve waited so long to do anything truly meaningful about it, we’re now close to the tipping point of not being able to avoid the worst impacts. Obviously, this would be devastating to our industry.
But since science has helped us comprehend the scope of the issue, we have an opportunity to proactively acknowledge the next big “pandemic,” and move quickly and meaningfully to avoid climate change’s worst impacts.
No longer can our industry avoid the hard work of addressing climate change. As an industry that depends entirely on consistent seasons and a stable environmental ecosystem, every winter outdoor industry business has a vested interest in maintaining the health of our planet, and taking aggressive action.
Here’s a second reason: your consumers (and investors) care. As BlackRock CEO Larry Fink wrote in 2018 to his investors, “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”
According to a recent study of American consumers, 87% said that they purchase a product because that company advocated for an issue that they cared about. It’s always a good business decision to align with the values of your consumers and the data is overwhelming that climate change is a core value of millennials, with over $1 trillion in annual spending.
Addressing climate change is an opportunity for long-term business resilience and relevance, while building brand value with consumers. The ethical case and the business case for climate action have never been more apparent than right now; we have the imperative to address the next big issue to ensure that our industry is prepared and stronger for what will certainly come next.
At our doorstep is an opportunity for us to define the future of the winter outdoor industry, to broaden our definition of “business success,” and to embrace the tools of innovation that will heal the planet and stabilize it for the future.
It’s entirely possible, but only if we act quickly and commit to this together, using our full economic weight, resourcefulness and influence. This is why we’ve made it a priority for all of us.
Over the next few months, we’ll use our educational platform to provide SIA members with a series of published and curated content, webinars, and Town Halls to create a heightened awareness of the challenge ahead, and solidify the business case for climate action.
Then, we’ll invite every SIA member to engage with our new climate platform, a guided roadmap for companies that outlines the necessary steps towards meeting the science-based targets, the global benchmark for every company to effectively address the climate challenge ahead of us.
We’re United For Winter.