Where We’re Going and How Far We Have Come: Climate Action on Earth Day
Dear Outdoor Industry Colleagues,
Today is an opportunity for us to take stock of our industry’s progress on climate and look forward to the work that lies ahead. Over the last year, we saw the power of collective climate action, and the reality we face if we do not keep going. It was inspiring to see the progress Climate Action Corps members, community stakeholders, policymakers, and individual outdoorists made in the past year. At the same time, we saw historic and devastating climate events across the globe. It’s clear the action needed to ensure the future of our industry, our planet, and our communities has never been more urgent.
Bold climate action is also an act of social justice – and an important step in building an outdoors for all. Climate change isn’t just a math problem; its impacts are felt first and worst by communities of color. Anything less than an ambitious, science-aligned effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions perpetuates a dangerous cycle of inequity. We can do better.
However, it is important for us to recognize the progress we have made. Last year marked a historic step forward for our industry, and I want to reflect on our collective achievements in 2021, as well as share our goals for the year ahead. There is still much work to be done to bring our industry to a climate positive future and to catalyze the systemic change required to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis we face. It’s clear we can’t meet our targets without collaboration. Can you make this Earth Day an opportunity to double down on the collaboration needed to reduce emissions beyond what your company can do alone?
Our definition of “climate positive” means to reduce your emissions in line with a science-based target, remove even more carbon from the atmosphere than you emit and advocate for robust climate policy.”
Climate Action Corps members commit to measure, plan, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, share their progress annually, and advocate for broader systemic change. And so, it seems fitting to share our progress in each of these categories.
MEASURE, PLAN + SHARE
The Climate Action Corps grew to 100 companies representing more than $27 billion in annual sales revenue. We announced an unprecedented goal to become the world’s first climate positive industry by 2030. This new goal seeks to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with outdoor gear and harness the power of nature to remove more carbon than its members emit – two decades ahead of Paris Agreement-aligned targets.
We also released our first Annual Impact Report in June, and we were thrilled to share the following progress from year one of the Climate Action Corps:
- 84% of Corps members have fully measured the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their owned or controlled operations, known as scope 1 and 2 emissions.
- 78% set targets to reduce these emissions and 49% are actively reducing them through improved energy efficiency and sourcing renewable electricity in the U.S.
- 39% of Corps members have fully measured scope 3 emissions, and 28% are taking action to reduce this impact – a number that we expect to grow greatly in the coming years through targeted supply chain collaborations.
We will release our second Annual Impact Report this summer, and look forward to sharing the individual and collective progress of the Climate Action Corps in year two.
REDUCE + REMOVE
To further support Climate Action Corps members to reduce and remove even more GHG from the atmosphere than they emit, we launched the Impact CoLab program last fall. Impact CoLabs are targeted collaborations that OIA leads or partners on to help Corps members work together to reduce emissions that are hardest to reach by one company alone. We are currently working to launch five CoLabs:
- The Alternative Nylon CoLab is helping brands look at the potential to scale up virgin nylon alternatives within their own business and the industry’s supply chain.
- The Clean Energy Investment Accelerator CoLab helps support soft and hard goods suppliers in Vietnam to decarbonize their factories.
- The Carbon Leadership Project CoLab is helping soft goods suppliers measure facility-level GHG emissions, set targets, and reduce GHG emissions with less time, cost, and effort by prioritizing factories shared by Corps members.
- The Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) Aggregation CoLab is compiling a group of Corps members to invest in a large-scale renewable energy development (i.e. solar or wind farm) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from operations in the U.S. and Canada in a cost-effective way.
- The Drinkware CoLab helps drinkware suppliers measure facility-level GHG emissions and identify decarbonization projects.
We plan to expand our offerings in the year ahead. Reach out to our team if you’re interested in joining.
We recognize the risk of climate change to both our businesses and the environment. That is why we’re taking immediate action within our own industry to mitigate that risk. But we also know the business community alone cannot address this threat – our government needs to play a leading role. OIA and Climate Action Corps members worked throughout the year to make our voices heard on significant climate legislation with far-reaching impacts for the health of our planet, people, and our industry.
- In May, Climate Action Corps members and outdoor community leaders sent a letter to the White House vocalizing support for President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, specifically as it relates to the plan’s climate change provisions, funding for nature-based infrastructure, investments in the energy workforce, and advancing environmental justice and equity.
- In September, OIA and 29 member companies sent a letter of support to congressional leadership for significant climate provisions in the proposed budget reconciliation legislation, including funding for a Civilian Climate Corps, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, and Every Kid Outdoors. We also hosted a webinar to engage the full OIA membership in this once-in-a-generation opportunity for action.
This May, we will bring together outdoor business executives, community partners, and policymakers for The Summit. During this event, leaders will collaborate and commit to act on the most pressing issues — and greatest opportunities — of our time: climate change, inclusion, and outdoor equity.
Our industry is made up of trailblazers, explorers, and passionate leaders who push the limit on what is possible. We have never been afraid of a challenge, and we have a long legacy of stewardship. While our industry is uniquely impacted by threats of climate change, these attributes make us uniquely positioned to help address them.
This year, you’ll continue to see us increase the capacity of the tools that we provide for measuring GHG emissions, expansion of our resources, trainings and 1:1 technical support, and collaborative opportunities to reduce supply chain emissions. If your company is interested in accelerating your progress on climate action and contributing to the industry’s climate positive ambition, I invite you to join us. We also welcome organizations interested in partnership or sharing insights and resources to reach out to email@example.com.
Director of Sustainable Business Innovation
Outdoor Industry Association
Electrifying the Textile Industry Feasibility (ETIF) Study From the Climate Action Corps
OIA and five of its Climate Action Corps members –Patagonia, Burton, New Balance, REI, and W.L. Gore – are excited to initiate this study to help decarbonize the apparel and textile sector.Continue reading
Drinkware CoLab From the Climate Action Corps
OIA’s Drinkware CoLab helps drinkware suppliers reduce GHG emissions with less time, cost, and effort by prioritizing factories shared by Corps members.Continue reading
Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) Aggregation CoLab From the Climate Action Corps
OIA’s Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) Aggregation CoLab is focused on helping Corps member companies source renewable energy for operations in the U.S. and Canada.Continue reading
Black Conservationists, Environmentalists and Outdoor Advocates Who Changed History
February is Black History Month! Join us in celebrating some of the Black environmentalists, advocates and thought-leaders who have championed work to protect our public lands and increase equity and access in the outdoors.Continue reading
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
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.
Alternative Nylon CoLab from the Climate Action Corps
The Alternative Nylon CoLab helps brands look at the potential to scale up recycled nylon within their own business and the industry’s recycled nylon supply chain.Continue reading
Vietnam Renewable Energy CoLab From the Climate Action Corps
The Clean Energy Investment Accelerator CoLab helps support soft and hard goods suppliers in decarbonizing their factories.Continue reading
Carbon Leadership Project CoLab from the Climate Action Corps
The Carbon Leadership Project CoLab is focused on working together to reduce emissions across their shared supply chains.Continue reading