EOG update on organisational changes and key projects for 2020

  • Ambitious goal for the industry to give back more than it takes
  • New Board members, and Vice President and Treasurer
  • Peter Ottervanger joins as Head of Retail
  • New survey reveals positive outlook for 2020
  • Growing momentum in #itsgreatoutthere campaign to get Europe active outdoors

Following the European Outdoor Group’s (EOG) Annual Assembly, the association has provided an update on its portfolio of activities, and changes to its core team and board. In line with the priorities agreed by its 110 members, the EOG focuses its work on three pillars: Doing business right; preserving the outdoors, and getting Europe active outdoors.

Activities are delivered directly and through arms-length organisations and stakeholders, some of which were set up by the EOG, such as the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and It’s Great Out There Coalition, and others which the association helped to found, including The Microfibre Consortium. During a press conference on day one of ISPO Munich, the EOG shared the latest news from some of its key projects.

EOG General Secretary Arne Strate comments: “The scale of the EOG’s work has grown significantly in recent years and we are proactively addressing some of the biggest issues that face not only the outdoor sector but business and society as a whole. Among those are some urgent, huge challenges and as the voice of our industry, we have built internal capacity and kick-started external projects to take the lead. The EOG has a really strong core team, a committed, supportive board, and works with some outstanding stakeholders and partners. Together, we will deliver an exciting, dynamic and vital programme in 2020 and beyond.”

An industry that gives back more than it takes

The umbrella purpose of the EOG has recently been articulated in a mission and vision statement that drives all association activity: ‘We are the voice of the European outdoor sector and our vision is to do global, profitable business in a way that gives back more than we take from nature and people.’

EOG Board member and VAUDE CEO Antje von Dewitz explained the background to this during the press conference: “The EOG is not your typical trade association. We are driving change from within the sector, not sheltering it from change. Of course, we have to consider how to develop profitable business models, but we believe that one way to do that is to stay ahead of the curve in our approach to addressing major areas such as sustainability and climate change. Our goal is very ambitious – we are trying to move a whole sector – and we are now working to define how that will be measured. Already, the EOG has committed millions of euros of resource into CSR and sustainability projects, while we believe that outdoor businesses in Europe have collectively invested 100 times that, without any direct return on investment, which is very commendable. It’s the right thing to do and we’re proud to lead the way.”

Antje also revealed that 97% of EOG members have now adopted the association’s Sustainability Charter, committing to pursue best practice in corporate citizenship, responsibility and sustainability. The EOG’s CSR and sustainability work is led by Head of CSR and Sustainability Dr. Katy Stevens and CSR & Sustainability Project Manager Dr. Jane Turnbull, who will now also be supported by Peter Hollenstein, who has joined the team on a consultancy basis. Katy, Jane and Peter will be working with charter signatories during 2020 to help them progress through the three stages towards true sustainability that are outlined in the document.

To find out more about the Sustainability Charter and all of the EOG’s CSR and sustainability work, email sustainability@europeanoutdoorgroup.com.

Changes to the EOG Board

After many years of service on the EOG Board, Vice President Jean-Marc Pambet (Salomon) and Treasurer Eddy Codega (CAMP) stood down at the 2020 Annual Assembly. EOG President Mark Held paid tribute to Jean-Marc and Eddy during the meeting and highlighted the major contributions that they have made to the association during their time on the board.

EOG members approved the appointment of two new board members – Paolo Bordin (AKU) and Guillaume Meyzenq (Salomon). In addition, two members who had been coopted during 2019 were confirmed as permanent members – Nikolai Rabaek Christensen (ECCO) and Benjamin Thaller (OSV). Antje von Dewitz of Vaude was confirmed as the EOG’s new Vice President and Michel Gogniat of Ternua has been appointed Treasurer.

New EOG Head of Retail – Peter Ottervanger

During the Annual Assembly, Peter Ottervanger was welcomed as the EOG’s new Head of Retail. Peter is well known in the industry from his time as EMEA General Manager for Icebreaker, and he has also had a long and distinguished career with many other leading businesses, including Audi, O’Neill and Sole Technology (a portfolio of surf, skate and snow sports brands). Peter brings a wealth of leadership experience to this new part-time role at the EOG, along with a deep understanding of both the outdoor sector and retail.

Peter comments: “I am particularly proud to work for the EOG and give back some of my 30+ years of experience by engaging, sharing and developing strategies together with the retail members. It’s my belief that the outdoor industry has a unique and purposeful DNA setting us apart from many others.”

Peter will work with members and stakeholders to continue the development of the EOG’s expanding range of retail projects. He is aiming to engage with a wider audience from the retail sector and recruit more to the association’s individual projects and as potential EOG members.

During the press conference, Peter cited the significant success of the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Project, led by the EOG’s Scott Nelson, as an example of how the outdoor retail sector has learned that pre-competitive cooperation can be very effective and beneficial for all who engage. Peter was involved in the initiative before he joined the association as Head of Retail and highlighted its goal to get every stakeholder to the table in order to increase leverage and scale up the positive results.

Retailers interested in engaging with the work of the EOG can contact Peter on peter.ottervanger@europeanoutdoorgroup.com. To find out more about the SUP Project, contact Scott on scott.nelson@europeanoutdoorgroup.com.

Anny Cardinahl will be finishing her role as a retail consultant for the EOG in February and was given a vote of thanks during the Annual Assembly for all that she has done to develop the association’s portfolio of retail projects since 2016.

A positive outlook for 2020

The EOG recently conducted a short top-line survey, which was completed by two-thirds of its members. When asked their views about the outlook for the industry in 2020, 76% of respondents stated that they expect business to grow compared to last year.

The EOG’s market research programme is very well established and includes Europe’s most comprehensive outdoor industry sell-through data project, State of Trade, covering seven main categories and 48 separate sub-categories.

Over 120 companies now participate in the State of Trade and it is being expanded to include data from the snowboard sector, reflecting the wider membership of the EOG. Meanwhile, the association is continuing to develop its sell-through research with its Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report and is exploring other opportunities for the extended brand, retail and consumer research.

The EOG’s market research programme is led by Head of Market Research Pauline Shepherd. To find out more about the work, email marketresearch@europeanoutdoorgroup.com.

Getting Europe active outdoors

Andrew Denton, Secretary-General of the It’s Great Out There Coalition, updated the press conference on the work of the coalition and highlighted the urgent importance of the #itsgreatoutthere campaign.

Founded by the EOG, the coalition is directly addressing the inactivity epidemic in Europe, with three strands of work: Motivating more people to get active through proactive, inspirational communications; directly activating people and projects through a grants programme and EU-funded initiatives; and advocating for outdoor activities in Europe, building partnerships with policymakers and with linked sectors to increase support and funding.

The It’s Great Out There Coalition has been funded by membership fees from outdoor businesses across Europe and has ongoing support from the EOG. In September 2019, Margo de Lange joined as the coalition’s Policy Officer, its first full-time member of staff. Based near Brussels, Margo is ideally located to engage with policymakers and make the case for the outdoors.

On behalf of the outdoor sector, the coalition is an official partner of the European Commission’s (EC) European Week of Sport (EWoS). Margo was interviewed for the EC’s website following the 2019 EWoS, further building the profile of the benefit of outdoor activities. The feature – ‘Why it’s great to #BeActive out there’ – can be found at ec.europa.eu/sport/week/news/why-its-great-beactive-out-there_en.

Since its foundation, the It’s Great Out There Coalition has reached 156m people with positive messages about participation in outdoor activities, and through 17 grant-funded projects, has directly helped 5,260 young people enjoy life-changing experiences in the outdoors.

During the press conference, Andrew Denton previewed a new short promotional film about that work and its importance to the outdoor industry and to wider society. The film is now available for the industry and public to view and share.

To find out more about the It’s Great Out There Coalition, visit itsgreatoutthere.com and to get involved in the organisation and the #itsgreatoutthere campaign, email info@itsgreatoutthere.com.

About the European Outdoor Group

The European Outdoor Group was founded in 2003 by 19 of the world’s largest outdoor companies, all of which recognised the need for a cohesive, cross border approach to representation of the outdoor sector. In a world of increasing internationalisation, legislation, environment, the media and trade are all now multinational issues.

The combined strength of the EOG’s 110 members provides the group with an extremely powerful force to represent the European outdoor industry in a constructive and positive manner.

Visit europeanoutdoorgroup.com for more information.