The Summit: What Happened and What’s Next

Read highlights from The Summit, our industry’s next steps, and how you can get engaged. Take a look at photos from the event and a thank you to our sponsors here.

In service of OIA’s mission to support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all, we hosted The Summit last month, a first-of-its-kind event bringing together 100+ leaders across the outdoor ecosystem to collaborate and commit to act on the most pressing issues – and greatest opportunities – of our time: climate change and outdoor equity.  

Our intention for The Summit was for business executives, community-based partners, and policymakers to come together and make bold commitments toward a shared future that is inclusive, equitable, and climate positive. We knew that in order to be successful, this event required a different approach and design than industry convenings in the past, and we engaged community leaders and businesses across the outdoor ecosystem to co-create The Summit. It took over a year of planning, learning, and growing along the way.  

Graphic facilitation during each day of The Summit captured ideas, thoughts, and themes discussed during the programming.

While The Summit is just the beginning, we are proud to see the progress our industry made through engaging in authentic conversations, challenging what we think we know, stepping into discomfort, and agreeing to collective action. Read on for highlights, our next steps, and how you can get engaged. 

Together at The Summit, outdoor leaders: 

1. Learned about the links between climate, equity, and inclusion and why they are vital to securing our shared future.

  • Historian and award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb set the stage for engaging conversations on the dynamics of race in our society, relating the country’s history of inequality to today’s issues, including climate change.  
    • “The only way in which we have ever made social progress is by beginning to recognize our own fallibility, our own complicity and then proactively saying: it is incumbent upon us to do something different … the willingness to step aside from our comfortable position and ask ourselves how we factor, how we benefit, how we replicate the kinds of pre-existing conditions that we see routing disaster through that societal rain gutter to the most vulnerable parts of our population.”  
  • Dr. Cobb joined our opening panelists Dr. Carolyn Finney, Middlebury College and Chris Speyer, REI to bring this historical context into a discussion about the present-day ethical and business drivers for bold, urgent action on climate, equity and inclusion. We learned that while diversity is accelerating in America, only 28% of the outdoor participant base is BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) – off pace with the general population and that 3 in 4 BIPOC persons live in nature-deprived places, compared with 1 in 5 white persons. We explored our role as business and organizational leaders in both creating, perpetuating, and solving for these disparities.

 

2. Amplified the leadership power already evident in outdoor community-based organizations and demonstrated what it looks like to meaningfully engage in sustained, healthy partnerships.

  • At Anacostia Park, Thrive Outside D.C. community leaders and program participants led Summit attendees through a series of outdoor activities that highlight how the local community utilizes the park for healing, community, and growth.  
  • During the Ally to Accomplice session, panelists shared struggles and successes in our journey to overcome equity barriers to the outdoors, along with real-life partnerships that put trust in community leaders and build relationships that go beyond financial transactions.  

 

3. Empowered and equipped each other to expand audiences, connect with customers beyond the transaction, and demonstrate our industry’s values and capacity for doing good.

  • Halla Tomasdottir, CEO + Chief Change Catalyst of The B Team, and Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, shared how successful stewardship of our businesses can exist alongside responsible stewardship of our communities and planet, along with practical guidance on how to implement a leadership model that places humanity at its heart. 
  • Climate change is not just a math problem: It’s a social justice issue and a threat to the outdoor experience for all. To break the cycle of injustice, bold action is needed across all sectors. Climate leaders and experts from YETI, Burton, and LifeStraw shared the ups and downs of setting science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets and meeting them. And a panel of climate finance experts illuminated how our banking decisions can support or undermine all that effort.  
  • Senator Angus King, I-ME, and Shannon A. Estenoz, Assistant Secretary For Fish And Wildlife And Parks, shared how businesses can help the administration take proactive and ambitious steps to preserve our public lands, combat climate change, make investments in green infrastructure, promote environmental justice, and ensure that the outdoors are open and accessible to all. 

 

4. Built our leadership capacity for candor by listening and engaging in difficult conversations about equality and climate change. 

  • Dr. Gerilyn Davis, Founder and Chief Inclusion Officer of Inclusion on the Slopes, and OIA Board members shared real-life examples and tactics to help business leaders model inclusive behaviors, foster psychological safety, and build a fearless outdoor ecosystem. 

 

5. Co-created and committed to act on a shared 2030 vision for an inclusive, equitable, and climate-positive future.

  • Our force for change is a compelling vision that clarifies what our most passionately held desire for the future is. We were blown away to see the hundreds of visionary ideas generated by participants that collectively represent what this community most wants to see become a reality by 2030 on climate, equity, and inclusion – and what you’ll do to make it happen! 
  • See our 2030 vision + outcomes framework and meeting report-outs, and details below on how to contribute. 

 

OIA is committed to the following immediate next steps to support our members and partners: 

  • Finalize the 2030 vision. With your feedback and in consultation with partners and members, we will draft the next version of our shared 2030 vision and desired outcomes and share it back with the outdoor community this summer. This will serve as our collective North Star. The OIA staff and Board will use this to inform our strategy – including new programs and partnerships to advance climate and inclusion action. See below for how to contribute!
  • Be a resource for action on equity and inclusion. While we already operate a thriving climate program called the Climate Action Corps, we want to do more to support our members to take immediate and holistic action on equity and inclusion – across product design and development, marketing, supply chain, and outdoor participation. OIA will conduct a deeper assessment of member needs, existing programs, potential partners, and gaps in this space to determine how we can play a unique and valuable role. We do not intend to reinvent the wheel; many great resources are already available, and we intend to align with and support existing programs wherever possible. 
  • Continue to advocate for inclusive and equitable climate policy, especially at this pivotal time as Congress weighs significant and consequential climate legislation. We will also continue our advocacy for federal, state, and local policies that help ensure an outdoors for all. 
  • Set the date and location for our next Summit in the Spring of 2023, as well as a separate D.C.-based fly-in to bring back our traditional annual lobbying event. 
  • Cultivate community on these business imperatives and beyond. In the meantime, OIA will explore the creation of cohort-based “meet-ups” that enable smaller groups of executives and teams to connect more frequently on common challenges and solutions that are critical for business success.  

 

Here’s how you can continue to learn and act between now and our next opportunity to gather: 

  • If you did not attend the meeting, or just have more to say, contribute to our 2030 vision + outcomes by clicking here and following the prompts to add your ideas and let us know what you need to take action. 
  • Action on climate and equity is easier when you can collaborate with your peers. Join the OIA Climate Action Corps and sign the In Solidarity Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge if you have not already – then, take a stand and make your commitment public! If you have already done both, how can you take your commitment to the next level?  
  • Sign on to this timely climate policy letter by June 9, urging Congressional action on bold emissions-reducing legislation. It may be our last significant moment for the scale of climate policy action needed to help all companies and the U.S. achieve our climate targets. 
  • Money doesn’t just sit in a bank – it goes out in the world and finances things. Find out whether your company’s money is helping fund a sustainable future or fueling the climate crisis, and learn how you can take action. 
  • Join this list to stay informed on OIA’s work in these spaces. 
  • Stop by this Outdoor Retailer session on Thursday, June 9 at 3:30 MT to get a deeper look into what happened at The Summit and what’s next. 

OIA is the trusted convenor, resource, and voice of the outdoor industry in the U.S. We collaborate to support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all. When you become a member of OIA, you gain access to the insights, action, and advocacy opportunities to help your organization and the greater outdoor ecosystem thrive.  

Did you attend The Summit and are interested in connecting with speakers? Contact us

For media inquiries, please contact Quinn Trainor at quinn@dennyink.com

 

OIA + CORP Virtual Sacramento Summit 2022

Watch on-demand: California Outdoor Recreation Partnership and Outdoor Industry Association’s 5th Sacramento Summit!

 

The California Outdoor Recreation Partnership, with support from Outdoor Industry Association, was pleased to host the 5th Sacramento Summit for outdoor recreation policy. From May 23-25, hundreds of outdoor recreation enthusiasts participated in our Sacramento Summit. Businesses and organizations met for a virtual advocacy day to hear from state policymakers, legislators, and decision-makers. Summit participants engaged in and drove conversation to protect public lands and advocate for equitable access, environmental justice, climate resilience including the 30×30 initiative, and outdoor recreation infrastructure.

Summit Objectives

  • Advocate for equitable access, climate resiliency, and funding for outdoor recreation infrastructure.
  • Connect the California outdoor recreation community with stakeholders, state agency leaders and key legislative members and continue to build state-level government relationships.
  • Networking opportunities for members.

Advocacy Day Program: 8 am – 12 pm on Monday, May 23, 2022

Lobby Meetings: Monday, May 23 – Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Advocacy Day Activities:

  • Remarks from Policymakers and Outdoor Recreation Advocates
  • Meetings with state-level policymakers and agency officials
  • Coffee Networking Event
  • Happy Hour Networking Event

Special thanks to The North Face and REI for their support of our work at California Outdoor Recreation Partnership.

Webinar: Reduce Credit Card Processing Fees Without Switching Processors

Watch on-demand! Merchant Cost Consulting is excited to be a partner with the Outdoor Industry Association and hopes to help members get a better understanding of their merchant fees. Credit card merchant fees are a necessary evil when it comes to accepting payments for businesses. As more consumers shift to carrying plastic in their pockets, it’s necessary to understand just how much these credit card merchant fees can add up and affect your bottom line. In this webinar, you will:

  • Learn the average cost you should pay to accept credit cards
  • Identify hidden processing mark-up fees your payment provider or software doesn’t want you to know
  • How Merchant Cost Consulting can help to make sure you are priced at the most competitive pricing in the industry

All of these will help boost the profitability of your business by lowering your overhead costs and keeping payment processing fees as low as you can. Keep more money in your pocket!

Advocating on Earth Day: State and Local Policy Updates

On this Earth Day, we on the OIA Government Affairs team are reflecting on notable state-level policies, regulatory changes, and investments that are accelerating important progress on climate, conservation, education, and outdoor access. To celebrate, we want to share some of these significant highlights with you in hopes that it inspires our members and fellow outdoorists to continue advocating for impactful policy on our planet’s behalf.  

 

MICHIGAN 

In late March of 2022, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the Building Michigan Together Plan. The $5 billion bipartisan plan is a blueprint for major investments to improve and modernize the state’s infrastructure.  

The plan will have major implications throughout the state. We were excited to see that the governor outlined a planned $450 million investment in state parks. Of the total, $250 million will be allocated to state parks, including the development of a new state park in Flint, MI. An additional $200 million will go toward improving and developing local park systems throughout the state. Governor Whitmer’s administration noted that these investments will benefit the state’s outdoor recreation industry and will attract increased tourism to Michigan. Click here to learn more about these important investments. 

 

CALIFORNIA 

Late last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration made some exciting announcements to kick off 2022. Alongside California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, the governor outlined $548.3 million in state grant funding to develop new parks in more than 100 communities throughout California. The press conference was part of a kick-off for the California “Outdoors for All” initiative, which will be led by Katherine Toy, the new and first-ever Deputy Secretary for Access at CNRA. US Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Deb Haaland, joined attendees for the launch of the initiative.   

Learn more about the California Outdoors for All initiative and the catalytic investments here 

 

MARYLAND 

In March 2022, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Great Maryland Outdoors Act (MD SB541). The bill was written partially in response to increasing visitor use seen throughout the pandemic, as well as growing need for resources to address deferred maintenance throughout the state. The legislation will provide increased funding for the state’s park system, the creation of new parks, and better access to existing parks. 

The Great Maryland Outdoors Act will play a major role in, “addressing infrastructure, capacity, and accessibility needs within the Maryland Park Service and State parks,” and “increasing the number of Maryland Park Service full-time employees,” and finally, requiring the state’s Department of Natural Resources to make considerations “relating to the accessibility, inclusivity, safety, and location of State parks.” The law also establishes the Great Maryland Outdoors Fund to provide funding related to outdoor recreation in the state.     

Read the final version of the bipartisan bill here.   

 

WASHINGTON 

Washington recently saw the creation of a statewide outdoor school program via a bipartisan bill, Establishing the outdoor school for all program (WA HB 2078). Ten million dollars in funding allocated from the state’s general fund will be used to administer an outdoor learning grant program supporting outdoor educational experiences throughout the state’s public schools. Washington youth in the fifth and sixth grades will be able to attend outdoor school starting as soon as the 2022-2023 academic year.  

The program will be administered by the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The office will allocate grants to eligible school districts and outdoor school providers, and will also partner with other relevant state agencies to carry out implementation.  

Governor Jay Inslee said, “This is an important opportunity for our kids to experience quality instructional time outdoors, and it may even inspire them to pursue exciting careers in earth science and land management, which will help prepare our state for the challenges of climate change.” 

 

 Interested in learning more about our government affairs work on the state and local level? Read more here. 

 

 

Coffee and Climate: Resource Allocation for GHG Measurement and Target Setting

woman pours hot coffee in mountains near campfire

Register Now

Thursday, March 31, 2022, 12 pm MT

Climate Action Corps members, join us for the second edition of the Coffee and Climate series! In this live discussion, we will discuss the importance of proper resource allocation to accomplish data collection for GHG measurement, the calculation itself, and target setting. In addition, we’ll go in-depth on the suggested number of FTEs required to complete the work, gaining CEO/Leadership buy-in, budgeting, organizational structures, roles and responsibilities, and more.

As opposed to more formal Corps training webinars, Coffee and Climate sessions are a candid but guided conversation on a chosen topic. They include facilitated group discussion to share tips, tricks, and strategies, as well as an opportunity for Q&A. Be ready to bring your questions (and coffee) to the table!

Speakers

Kari Shafer, Climate Action Corps Manager, Outdoor Industry Association

Eric Brody, Founder and Principal, Shift Advantage

This Coffee and Climate session is for Climate Action Corps members only. If you’re a Corps member, you can register here. Not a member? Contact our team to learn more and join today. 

Outdoor Retailer Industry Lunch: Historic Investments In Climate Change, New Opportunities For Environmental Justice

With continued discussion of the Build Back Better plan in Congress, policymakers are responding to the outdoor industry’s call to make historic investments to combat climate change, which is a major existential threat to the outdoors, our communities, and the outdoor recreation economy. These proposed funds are committed to build resilience, promote natural climate solutions, support a Civilian Climate Corps, and accelerate the transition to renewable energy. It is imperative that the passage and eventual implementation of Build Back Better also addresses two other related threats to our industry: the disproportionate impact climate change has on minority and marginalized communities and the need to ensure that the outdoors are open, safe and accessible to all Americans. Join us for an informative discussion with key stakeholders, industry leaders, and representatives from Washington, D.C., on how combating climate change, prioritizing climate action, and ensuring more diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors are intertwined and how you and your business can play a key role in the future of an equitable and healthy outdoors.

Moderator: Rebecca Gillis, State & Local Government Affairs Manager, Outdoor Industry Association 

Panelists:

Congresswoman Nanette Barragán, U.S. Representative for California’s 44th congressional district

Clarence Edwards, Legislative Director, Sustainable Energy and Environment, Friends Committee on National Legislation  

Angelo Villagomez, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress 

Taishya Adams, National Policy and Education Director, Outdoor Afro

 

Takeaways from the session include:

  • There is intersectionality between investments in climate sustainability and the potential follow-on impacts on environmental justice and outdoor accessibility across the nation. These topics are intertwined with broader conversations about equity in the outdoors, and amongst outdoor industry stakeholders.
  • Other current policy options and efforts in the Biden Administration to further invest in pivotal environmental justice issues include the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Justice40 initiative. The proposed Civilian Climate Corps has a potential role to play in not only on-the-ground conservation and climate mitigation work, but also localized efforts to build out more accessible green space for individuals in nature-starved areas – paving the way for increased equity in the outdoors.
  • Storytelling across diverse communities is an important mechanism for increasing effective advocacy for climate investments.
  • While sometimes daunting, it is critical to talk about climate impacts, environmental justice, and outdoor accessibility to audiences who may have been intimidated or felt unmotivated about climate action and equity.