2017 Annual Report: Sustainability

Together We Are A Force for Sustainability

We kicked off 2017 with a big 10-year anniversary celebration for the OIA Sustainability Working Group. We also added an amazing team member, hosted another successful Sustainable Insights Conference and kept getting more companies involved with the world’s leading supply chain management tool, the Higg Index.

Sustainability Work by the Numbers


In July, the OIA Sustainable Business Innovation Team went from two to three with the hire of Jessie Curry. Jessie joined the OIA team from Nau Clothing, an OIA member company known for its leadership in sustainability.

Over 100 outdoor industry sustainability professionals convened to address important industry sustainability topics like microfibers, flame retardants and circular economy and to learn more about topics like sustainable packaging, operationalizing climate change solutions and ethical rubber sourcing . The Higg Index industry benchmarking results were also released during this time. Learn more here.

We signed a new partnership agreement with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, securing a discounted Higg Index access rate for both OIA members and Sustainability Working Group Leadership members.

We also ramped up efforts to increase outdoor industry adoption of the Higg Index to help our member’s understanding of their environmental and social impacts. This campaign resulted in an 83 percent increase of outdoor industry brands and facilities with Higg Index accounts. We saw a 27 percent increase in brands posting modules and a 28 percent increase in facilities posting modules.

What do those numbers really mean? We’re killing it and committed to continuous improvement. Keep it up, outdoor industry.

We launched three Getting Started Guides, collaboratively developed by the OIA Sustainability Working Group and intended to provide guidance and training for both brands and suppliers on implementing successful sustainable materials and chemicals management programs.

Chemicals Management Guide & Training for Manufacturers

Chemicals Management Getting Started Guide

Sustainable Materials Getting Started Guide and the MEC “Case-let”

In 2017, seven brands came together for the first time to begin efforts in harmonizing flammability standards and requirements in outdoor camping tents. With an aim to promote informed, data-driven use of flame retardant chemistries, this group is laying the groundwork for the entire industry to help ensure the health and safety of campers and backpackers across the country.

To learn more, see our Flame Retardants Toolkit here.

We led development of a cross-industry coalition and roadmap to better address the impacts of microfibers.

Team SBI went to India for the annual Sustainable Apparel Coalition meetings. We joined some of our members to visit factories and see firsthand the improvements that the Higg Index is helping to drive.

The outdoor and other industries gathered in New York for Climate Week to discuss proactive ways to address climate change.

We co-hosted a multi-stakeholder Microfibers Summit with The Ocean Conservancy at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and emerged with a cross-industry work plan with tangible steps for each stakeholder group.

Hello to smarter analytics and efficiencies with the Higg Index Facility Environmental Module 3.0. It reduces audit fatigue, introduces questions relevant to factory types, offers smarter analytics and provides enhanced training and improvement resources. It is already used globally by more than 8,000 leading businesses, and we’re committed to supporting Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s goal for use by 20,000 facilities by 2020.