British outdoor brands Rab and Lowe Alpine (owned by Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd.) hosted a highly successful first edition of the Equip Sustainability Summit. The event brought together more than 70 leading industry professionals, retailers, stakeholders and outdoor enthusiasts to discuss options for a more sustainable outdoor industry. The summit took place in the new European Rab Service Centre. After beginning operations in autumn 2021, the centre was officially opened at the event. Equip also presented the next step in their sustainability strategy, the Mountain Manifesto. This set of commitments shared by industry stakeholders aims to help the industry tread more lightly on the planet.
Expertly moderated by outdoor journalist Gijs Loning, the speakers and panelists shared insights into their companies’ and businesses’ CSR strategies and their own approach towards a more sustainable future. Guests included Arne Strate (General Secretary European Outdoor Group), John Jansen (General Manager Keen Footwear EMEA), Albert Scholte (CEO Bever), Margreet Vrieling (Associate Director Fair Wear), Robin Baks (Director NKBV), and Debbie Read (Head of Corporate Communications and CSR Equip). Discussions were focused around Equip’s four CSR pillars: People, Product, Planet and Partners, and explored solutions and strategies for:
- Reducing emissions,
- Reducing fluorocarbons,
- Recycling fabrics and other materials, including down and polybags,
- End of life product waste management,
- Repair and prolonging product life,
- Educating and inspiring consumers,
- Highlighting unjust working conditions.
Special guest, Rab athlete and professional mountain guide, Roeland van Oss, shared his Climbing4Climate project at the event. Roeland aims to summit all 82 4000m peaks in the Alps in one season, self-propelled. Using only using his bike to move from one place to another, Roeland aims to keep his entire adventure climate neutral. He wants to inspire other mountaineers and adventurers to look for new and emission-conscious approaches to their favourite activities.
By the conclusion of the event there was shared understanding that, even if every stakeholder took personal responsibility, a collective approach is the only way to deliver enduring sustainable solutions. Equip’s Mountain Manifesto reflects this idea. It aims to connect all stakeholders in the company’s supply chain, focus in on the areas where the business has capacity to make meaningful change, and accelerate change in the outdoor industry at large.
Gijs Loning wraps up the Equip Sustainability Summit as follows: “This is the first time I can remember an event like this being held in the Netherlands. We quickly realised that no-one is against being more sustainable. What this event showed us though, is that we are all on the same track. We are connected to what we are doing, and all are committed to make a difference. But we need to work together, commit individual actions and take notice of and influence those around us.”
Debbie Read, Head of Corporate Communications and CSR at Equip, added: “We couldn’t be happier about the outcome of our first Equip Sustainability Summit. At Equip, we have committed to an ambitious CSR strategy that affects all levels of our business which demands strong and consistent effort. We know that change is hard, and we know we can’t do it alone. With the hugely positive response we received during the Sustainability Summit, we have seen that the only way forward is to tackle these challenges together.”
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