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OIA & Safer Made present Sustainability Convergence #1: Material + Chemistry Innovation

January 23, 2018, 2:00 pm
Hilton Denver City Center at 1701 California Street, Denver, Colorado

Room: Denver 3 and 4

Through the pre-competitive, collaborative OIA Sustainability Working Group (SWG), the outdoor industry is tackling global supply chain sustainability and resiliency challenges that no one company can solve alone. However, solving some of these massive, often nebulous issues will require us to take our multi-stakeholder collaboration efforts to the next level, specifically pursuing interconnectivity not only among supply chain partners, but also among innovators, investors, researchers/academia, and other stakeholders who will be critical partners in helping solve the industry’s collective challenges. OIA’s vision for the Sustainability Convergence events is to provide a space for learning and connection around big issues the industry is facing, in an effort to facilitate connections that will drive innovation addressing key shared challenges and reducing the industry’s impacts.

Tell me about the first OIA Sustainability Convergence event!
There is a growing demand for chemicals, materials, and ultimately, products that are safer for people and the natural world. This movement goes by many names:
Green, Safer, or Sustainable Chemistry, Biomimicry, Circular Economy, and Cradle to Cradle design; despite the various terms, the approaches are rooted in a common vision: the desire to provide consumers with products that are safe, that meet their performance requirements, and that are made with the lowest possible impacts.

Bringing innovation to market to solve key industry challenges will require a diversity of approaches, as well as significant investment and support to drive promising concepts to commercialization. With the outdoor industry in mind, this session is designed to provide:

  • An overview of the landscape of current needs and barriers to advancing innovative solutions in the area of outdoor industry-specific materials and chemistries
  • A look at some key concepts for successful advancement of innovation in this space
  • Real-world examples of successful partnerships/models
  • Effective approaches for evaluating, prioritizing and pursuing innovation opportunities
  • A view of how broader materials innovation can contribute to more effective management of chemistry, in addition to specific chemicals substitution options
  • A view of the new technologies aiming to address the current and future needs within the industry
  • Knowledge of startup mechanics and best practices for pursuing partnerships and funding
  • The opportunity to connect with other stakeholder groups that may be critical to advancing key needs/projects

This session will focus on topics around materials, processes, and specific chemical substitution options, such as:

  • New composites and resins
  • Dyes & solvents
  • Dyeing processes
  • Fabric finishing
  • Specific chemicals substitutions to achieve performance requirements, ie. durable water repellency, antimicrobials, etc.
  • DMF in polyurethane
  • Cellulosic processes (Rayon & Viscose)
  • Plating & anodization processes


2:00 – 2:10 – Welcome

2:10-2:45 – Opening Plenary: The Outdoor Industry Materials and Chemistry Innovation Landscape, Needs, and Vision of Success

Speakers: Bob Buck, Chemours / Mitch Krauss, Burton (OIA Chemicals Management Co-Chairs); Beth Jensen, OIA; Marty Mulvihill, Safer Made

What is the purpose of this workshop, and what’s in it for OIA Sustainability Working Group brands, retailers, and suppliers? We’ll start with high-level framing and context to ground attendees in this session, including discussion of OIA’s vision of success.


2:45-3:30p – Panel: Innovative Solution Development + Deployment


  • Karla Mora, Alante Capital
  • Milos Ribic, Adidas/Hydra Ventures
  • Una Murphy, Levi Strauss & Co. 
  • Moderator: Beth Jensen, OIA

How are new material and chemistry solutions advanced and adopted? This session will dig into shared industry challenges and barriers, potential solutions, and key lessons from the field – a view of the strategic opportunities for adoption of safer chemistry and materials innovations within the outdoor industry.


3:30-3:45 – Break: Coffee & Bites


3:45-4:30p – Case Studies: Stories of Successful Partnerships Advancing Innovation


  • Todd Copeland, Patagonia – DWR (Beyond Surface Technologies), other topics TBD
  • Tom Flicker, Target – fiber recycling (Thread, Evernu)
  • Claire Gibson, Marmot + Martin Flora, Green Theme International – DWR (Green Theme International)
  • Ana Van Pelt, Niche Snowboards – recyclable epoxy resin (Connora)
  • Moderator: Marty Mulvihill / Adrian Horotan, Safer Made


4:30-5:30p – Happy Hour: Connect Beyond Your Network

Bridging the gap between brands, manufacturers/suppliers, investors, startups, academia/researchers, and NGO’s, all are encouraged to connect in this open networking session to explore featured startups and their latest ideas aimed at key innovation gaps within the outdoor industry, and to discuss ways to address the current barriers to advancing sustainability innovation in the outdoor industry.