Apr 11, 2012

OIA Member Companies’ Sustainability Work Recognized by White House

The Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group (OIA SWG) — a collaboration of more than 250 outdoor industry companies working to to identify and improve the environmental and social impacts of their products — has been selected by the White House as a Champion of Change for Corporate Environmental Sustainability.

The White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country that represent President Obama’s vision of out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world through projects and initiatives that move their communities forward.

The OIA SWG grew from the efforts of leading outdoor industry companies that were independently exploring ways to reduce their environmental and social impacts. These companies recognized that they could make meaningful progress by working together on shared issues through their global supply chains.

One of the industry’s most notable accomplishments is the development of the OIA Eco Index, a product sustainability indexing tool that OIA member companies began developing in 2007. The industry developed the Eco Index as an open-source tool to encourage companies and other industries to adopt the tool.

It worked. In 2011, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) — a broader group of companies representing approximately 30 percent of the global apparel and footwear supply chains — adopted the OIA Eco Index as the basis for the SAC Apparel Index to create a worldwide standard that will allow companies to assess product level sustainability.

The OIA SWG continues to methodically examine product-level sustainability issues, seeking solutions in four key areas: 1) index development for apparel, footwear and equipment, 2) chemicals management in the supply chain, 3) materials traceability in the supply chain, and 4) social responsibility and fair labor issues.

On April 12, The Office of Public Engagement and the White House Council on Environmental Quality will host a Champions of Change for Corporate Environmental Sustainability event, at which the OIA SWG’s efforts to spread sustainability practices will be honored. The event starts at 1:30 EDT and will stream live at whitehouse.gov/live.

“OIA member companies have been quietly plugging away on sustainability work for many years,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, OIA president and CEO. “This recognition is a welcome validation of our industry’s commitment to promote socially, environmentally and ethically responsible business practices, which reflect the underlying values of the outdoor industry and our customers.”

Learn more about the Champions of Change.