OIA COMMUNICATIONS & INDUSTRY NEWS During COVID-19

OIA Communications

Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 3.11.21

Dear Valued Outdoor Industry Colleagues,

It is hard to believe a full year has passed since the global coronavirus pandemic shut down our nation, ravaged communities and caused economic disruption unseen in our lifetimes. We won’t soon forget the devastation, and there is still much work ahead to repair the damages the outdoor industry incurred. However, as I reflect on the past year, I am inspired by how our community came together to respond to this crisis and to deliver some powerful achievements, demonstrating our resilience and strength.

I am particularly proud of the following actions that OIA and our industry were able to take:

We conducted an industry-wide member survey to understand the business impacts of the pandemic and to learn how OIA can lend a hand with tools, resources and advocacy support. We heard from our members the value of focusing on critical outdoor issues such as equity in the outdoors, climate action, public lands, conservation, the outdoor recreation economy and trade. We also heard the need, loud and clear, for new ways for our community to convene. We have already begun delivering on these issues and will continue to do so in 2021 to demonstrate value to our members.

The outdoor industry showed up to support our critical work. We made many asks of you, our members, in the past 12 months, and we are humbled to share that your support will allow us to continue to serve to elevate the collective voice, influence and power of the outdoor industry. Thank you to those who stepped up to Leadership and Support membership levels.

Countless outdoor industry businesses rapidly pivoted their production to make millions of PPE units—including masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators and other critical equipment— for frontline workers. At OIA, we worked quickly to support our members with tools such as this webinar to help move efforts faster and further. Read the inspirational stories here.

Outdoor Retailer went virtual, and OIA pivoted to provide more than 20 education sessions at the Summer and Winter Online shows. Watch our on-demand sessions on topics ranging from DEI to outdoor recreation and from climate action to participation and trade.

OIA advocated on our industry’s behalf in Washington, D.C., and at the state level for economic disaster relief and delivered resources, such as our COVID-19 Hub and webinar and Campfire Conversation series. We also developed a comprehensive policy platform for the 2020 election and secured key meetings with the new administration and Congress.

Outdoorists committed to #VoteTheOutdoors and followed through. In a time of great political division and polarization, protecting the outdoors is one thing we can all agree on. Together through our #VoteTheOutdoors campaign, we were able to preserve public lands and waters, lower costs for outdoor businesses, help advance sustainable business practices and shape public policy.

Outdoor participation grew.Forthcoming research confirms what our industry was reporting anecdotally: people across the country were able to find a reprieve from the pandemic in outdoor activities like trail running, hiking, camping, fishing, biking and more. I take comfort in knowing our industry helped millions of Americans recreate safely through the Recreate Responsibly coalition and that retailers and outfitters across the country found new and creative ways to continue serving their customers, many of whom were newcomers. Our Special Report, The New Outdoor Participant (COVID and Beyond), will help you learn what motivated these newcomers and offer strategies for retaining them, even after pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The Thrive Outside Initiative released its first annual Impact Report. The Thrive Outside Initiative empowers communities to make outdoor recreation an accessible lifestyle for all. This effort is a catalyst to drive positive outcomes in critical areas such as health and wellness, youth development, social justice and community development—all more important than ever during the pandemic. Read what we were able to accomplish and how the communities adapted in year one.

We committed to building a just and equitable outdoors. As the association for the outdoor industry, we have a voice—and a corresponding responsibility to do more. The police killing of George Floyd and countless instances of racism and racial violence against Black people were horrific, and we know these events are not isolated and are part of a long history of systemic racism and injustice in our country and in the outdoors. Read our statement and commitment to do better, as well as the progress we made in 2020.

The Climate Action Corps grew its membership to nearly 100 members. In light of global circumstances around the pandemic, it would not have been surprising to see companies take a step back from their sustainability efforts. But the outdoor industry doubled down on its commitment to combat the climate crisis, and we gained dozens of new and committed Corps members. Learn more about our industry’s collective commitment to measure, plan and reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and share progress annually.

Despite the challenges and setbacks our industry endured over the past year, we also demonstrated incredible resiliency and unity. I am eager to see how this momentum carries our industry toward continued collaboration, innovation and growth.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our membership team. We are here for you as we collectively work to recover.

Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 6.30.20

Dear Valued Outdoor Industry Colleagues,

I am inspired every day by the passion, commitment and resolve of the outdoor industry. We know that to have a thriving outdoor industry, we also need and want people thriving outside and a thriving planet. We need to press forward to respond to a worldwide pandemic, economic uncertainty and climate change, all while ensuring the outdoors and the outdoor industry is equitable and inclusive. The individuals and companies that make up the outdoor industry are innovators, inventors, leaders and outdoor champions, and there is much we can do together.

This week is evidence of that. As we head into the holiday weekend, I’m excited to share some good news out of Washington, D.C., and from across our industry.

House Climate Crisis Action Plan
 
Today, the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released a roadmap to help solve the climate crisis. The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient and Just America aims to “build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.”
 
Our industry understands firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change. This congressional action is an essential step toward a partnership of industry and government to ensure a thriving planet. Read more here.
 
INVEST in America Act – URGE CONGRESS TO VOTE YES
 
Up for congressional vote this Wednesday is the INVEST in America Act, the House transportation and infrastructure package. It’s dense and has some good provisions related to clean energy, climate, conservation, ensuring the outdoors is for all and several items that impact outdoor recreation directly. We’ve summarized them here.
 
Before you or your elected officials take off for the long holiday weekend, use this action alert on our Advocacy Center to urge them to VOTE YES on the bill.
 
Recreate Responsibly Redux – July 4 – PLEASE AMPLIFY

As we approach the July 4th weekend where more people want to be outside, we hope you will join us and share with your customers and colleagues the #RecreateResponsibly tips to provide guidance for staying safe and healthy during this public health crisis. The Recreate Responsibly coalition, a diverse group of over 500 nonprofits, businesses, land managers and influencers have collaborated to develop and share best practices. Over 100 million people have engaged with the campaign since it launched over Memorial Day.
 

Importantly, the past month has shown that we all can contribute to making society and the outdoors more inclusive and equitable. The coalition has added a new foundational principle, calling on everyone to do their part in helping build a safe and welcoming outdoors for all identities and abilities.
 
Download the #RecreateResponsibly toolkit that includes graphics and sample social posts. Please help keep the outdoors safe and open by amplifying these messages.
 
For more info, go to recreateresponsibly.org.

Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 5.21.20

Dear Valued Outdoor Industry Colleagues,

During this public health crisis, spending time in outdoor spaces has become so important for many, and we anticipate this trend will continue. People are drawn to the outdoors for fresh air, stress relief and the freedom it provides. This is positive news for outdoor businesses and for the health and well-being of Americans. As our public lands and waters reopen, our special places could get overwhelmed and people could be at risk.

To help ensure people thrive outside and stay safe, OIA is working with a national coalition of nonprofits, outdoor businesses and land managers on the #RecreateResponsbily campaign. The program shares guidelines and best practices to protect each other and our natural landscapes. We are a diverse community brought together by our love of the outdoors and a desire to help everyone experience the benefits of nature safely during this public health crisis.

Today, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, OIA and our partners are launching the #RecreateResponsibly initiative, with six guidelines for getting outside safely. Please join us in sharing the #RecreateResponsibly toolkit (English and Spanish) and message across your social media channels.

Let’s protect our special places and keep people going outside. Learn more at recreateresponsibly.org.

Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


The Recreate Responsibly Coalition Members


American Hiking Society
Children & Nature Network
City Parks Alliance
Hispanic Access Foundation
LBC Action
Leave No Trace
National Forest Foundation
National Park Foundation
Outdoor Afro
Outdoor Alliance
Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable
PeopleForBikes
REI
The Conservation Alliance
The North Face
The Trust for Public Lands
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Washington Trails Association


Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 4.29.20

Dear Valued Outdoor Industry Colleagues,

We continue to talk to the industry to understand the business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey we recently conducted gives us some insights:

  • More than 50 percent of respondents projected their businesses to be down anywhere from 41 – 100 percent in the first half of the year.
  • 25 percent of businesses have suspended all operations with an additional 54 percent indicating that a portion of business has been suspended.
  • 80 percent of retailers stated that they have put a hold on orders or in-transit inventory.
  • The majority of businesses plan on taking advantage of government-provided loans and plan to use the money to make payroll and cover rent, mortgages or both. 

OIA is focused on supporting members through this very unexpected crisis—and also through our recovery. In the coming days, we will send out pulse surveys to continue to understand how you are impacted and learn how OIA can lend a hand with tools, resources and advocacy support.

While this has been devastating—from the lives lost to COVID-19 to the business and employee impacts—we have great hope and optimism about the future of the outdoor industry. In neighborhoods across the country, people are emerging from their homes and finding or rediscovering a love for the solace and stress reduction the outdoors can bring. We have an opportunity to welcome, serve and celebrate more people from diverse geographies and backgrounds who may not think of themselves as outdoorists but enjoy the outdoors—and we should be thinking about how we can best do that now.

Please continue to lean on OIA and access our COVID-19 Resource Hub and weekly webinars for support. If you would like to reach out to us directly in regard to your needs during COVID-19, please contact our membership team.


Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 4.22.20

Happy Earth Day Outdoor Industry Colleagues,

Over 80 percent of the retailers and manufacturers who responded to our survey last month said they planned to access loans through the CARES Act. But in conversations with members over the past few weeks, we heard a common narrative: small businesses encountered frustrating roadblocks, and the $349 billion earmarked for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been depleted. Know that OIA is advocating on your behalf in Washington and at the state level. We expect Congress to pass a bill adding another $310 billion to the PPP late this week, and the program will run on a first-come, first-served basis. Our team is working to bring you helpful resources like this one, which includes a recorded webinar and detailed information about the SBA loan process. Burl Kelton of the Small Business Administration will conduct another webinar next Tuesday, April 28, with additional and updated information.
 
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the theme is climate change. While managing the COVID-19 crisis is clearly top of mind for all outdoor industry organizations and business leaders, OIA continues to support the industry in its efforts to lead on climate action. Many of you are already aware of our newly launched Climate Action Corps. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, OIA is taking time to check in, hear from members about the state of business and understand where your climate action goals fit into the new normal. It is interesting to hear that many organizations still prioritize climate action and sustainability in the current environment. Please take a moment to watch this short video from Amy Horton, OIA’s senior director of sustainable business innovation, for some Earth Day reflections and good news that we all can use.
 
Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue to support business as we look to the reopening of outdoor businesses, and we will also bring you news about the best practices and discussions around reopening the parks and trail systems across the country and how the outdoor industry and our customers can do this in a way that is safe for people and the parks.
 
Please continue to lean on OIA and access our COVID-19 Resource Hub and weekly webinars for support. If you would like to reach out to us directly in regard to your needs during COVID-19, please contact our membership team.


Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 4.15.20

Dear Valued Industry Colleagues,

At OIA, we are laser-focused on supporting the needs of our members during the COVID-19 crisis. On Monday, we closed our industry survey that will help us understand your most pressing issues. We are digging into the results and comparing them with what we are hearing anecdotally from our members and partners.
 
Preliminarily, it is clear that businesses of all sizes and types are experiencing revenue loss, and many retailers and manufacturers are turning to small business loans with the hope of putting that money toward payroll, rents and mortgages. We are also hearing that many retailers are working with manufacturers to put inventory shipments on hold and push out billing dates instead of canceling orders altogether. In the coming weeks, we will continue to provide insights from our findings to better clarify the business impacts as they pertain to the outdoor industry. What we do know is that the current collaboration between retailers and manufacturers continues to show the strength of our industry when we stand and work together. 
 
With the knowledge we gather from the industry survey and through one-on-one member conversations, we will continue to build and hone our resources to directly support your needs.
 
We are also working with our team in D.C. and partners to continue to press for additional resources for small and midsized outdoor businesses. Together with the strong outdoor recreation economy numbers we developed over the past few years, the survey results will help us all make our case that outdoor businesses are a crucial economic driver in many communities and nationally. 
 
Please continue to lean on OIA and access our resources for support. If you would like to reach out to us directly in regard to your needs during COVID-19, please contact our membership team.


Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


Letter From Lise AANGEENBRUG 4.8.20

Dear valued outdoor industry colleagues,

Now More Than Ever, We Need to Be Together As a Force. For over 30 years, Outdoor Industry Association has been helping outdoor businesses by bringing our community together to lead and provide a unified, strong industry voice.

In the face of this unprecedented global pandemic, we are all struggling as individuals, as companies and as a community. As companies, we are experiencing sudden loss of revenue and disruption on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes.  As a community, we are searching for ways to stay connected and to help our communities, employees, businesses and relationships, which have been built over years—through good times and bad times.
 
We are all figuring out together how we will survive and ultimately thrive.
 
I am proud to work in the outdoor industry and to lead Outdoor Industry Association. We are at our best when we are working together for the greater good. We came together in 1989 to address common challenges like the defeat of the Backpack Tax. Over the years, we’ve passed important legislation that benefits the outdoors, and we’ve put the outdoor recreation economy on the map at the state and federal levels. We are helping to champion increased and more diverse participation in the outdoors, and we are leading important work to help the outdoor industry be part of the solution to the damaging effects of a changing climate. 
 
Now we have a new shared challenge, and as your trade association,we are moving quickly to help our members and our community access information, programs and funding. Our immediate and urgent focus is on supporting large and small businesses across the outdoor recreation economy spectrum. We are finding ways to partner with allied organizations, like the like Snowsports Industries America (SIA), PeopleForBikes, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), Camber Outdoors and many others, to bring tools, resources and opportunities to connect—to help us all get through this very tough time.
 
Most urgently, we are working with local, state and federal governments to do the following:

  • Call on the Trump administration to remove punitive tariffs on outdoor goods and defer all tariffs for 90 days
  • Guide federal and state government to prioritize outdoor recreation businesses to be considered essential so that retailers can stay connected to their consumers—in a safe way
  • Have federal and state government increase investments and protections of our outdoor places—from the backyard to the backcountry

We know that every single person in our outdoor community is impacted. The cancellation of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was the right thing to do, but it is both a financial loss and a loss of our ability to connect in person at a time when we need it most. Like our member companies, we are figuring out how to scale back our spending and provide the most efficient and most needed services to our members.
 
We are committed to serving our community now more than ever. If the last month is any indication of Americans’ continued or renewed desire to get outside, we know that having places to recreate or find solace resonates deeply across the country. 
 
As we come through and out the other side of this pandemic, a strong unified voice to fight for and support the success of the outdoor industry will be more important than it’s ever been.
 
Please reach out and let us know how we can best serve you.

Together We Are a Force,

Lise Aangeenbrug
OIA Executive Director


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