Meet The Winners of the 2018 Together We Are A Force Awards

The awards recognize individuals who have partnered cross-organizationally to spark innovation and progress through new processes, products, methods, systems, services, tools or other initiatives. 

July 24, 2018

In March of this year, OIA announced the expansion of its Together We Are A Force campaign into an award program that would celebrate the collaborative spirit of the outdoor industry and the individuals and companies who are making meaningful change in the areas of policy, sustainability and participation. Nominations for the awards opened in May, and we received more than 60 applications. Our panel of judges included OIA staff as well as peers in the industry who selected the winners in each of the three pillar areas.

We presented the winners with their awards at the Industry Breakfast on Day 1 of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and spent the week capturing photos and video testimonials about their collaborations. We’ll be sharing those videos over the next several months on our website and social channels.

The 2018 winners are:

POLICY: Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) for their Save The Boundary Waters campaign. Together with OIA member companies Piragis Northwoods Company, MTI Adventurewear and Patagonia, NMW launched and supported what became a three-part, three-year adventure advocacy campaign to bring broad awareness of the Boundary Waters Wilderness to a broad audience. Facing the threat of a proposed copper-ore mining lease proposal, which could critically endanger the water quality of the Boundary Waters’ network of interconnected waterways, the partners helped a broad audience understand the value and uniqueness of the Wilderness and gained public support for its protection through the campaign.

SUSTAINABILITY: The North Face worked with Allied Feather and Down, Textile Exchange, Control Union Certifications, Allied Feather & Down and Downlite worked together to create the Responsible Down Standard (RSD) through a series of discussions with experts in animal welfare and the down supply chain, academic and field research (site visits), pilot auditing, and stakeholder feedback. The North Face led efforts with Control Union Certifications, an accredited third-party certification body, and Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the textile industry. In 2014, The North Face gifted the RDS to Textile Exchange to manage and evolve the standard going forward.

PARTICIPATION: The American Hiking Society and Teresa Baker of African American Nature & Parks Experience with support from Vasque and Patagonia created Hike Like a Girl, a event-anchored campaigned aimed at empowering more women to get out on hiking trails.

Many achievements that make meaningful change in the outdoor industry are accomplished through multi-organization collaboration—often with competitors—in order to achieve a common goal of creating lasting solutions that affect the entire industry.

“OIA’s purpose is to be a convener and leader for the outdoor industry,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director. “Part of fulfilling that purpose is shining a light on the truly amazing work our members and partner organizations do. I encourage anyone who has a story of innovation or progress that was made possible through collaboration to submit a nomination.”

The Together We Are a Force Awards are building on the momentum of the OIA Together We Are a Force campaign, created to showcase the collaboration the outdoor industry thrives on.

“Through our Together We Are a Force campaign, OIA has been able to tell some truly inspiring and important stories of the work that the outdoor industry and our members do,” said Jennifer Pringle, OIA VP of marketing and research. “The Together We Are a Force Awards are a way to support that effort and unearth untold stories of pre-competitive, collaborative work that has benefitted the outdoor industry as a whole.”