FN: Outdoor Market’s Biggest Failure: Inability to Communicate Sustainability


Here are several testimonials from our AAPN Sustainability Conference of 120 people 10 years ago in 2010:

“everyone here realizes we are further ahead of sustainability than we thought”
“sustainability can not be defined, really, it is just doing the right thing”
“sustainability does work. The active pursuit of sustainability, of doing the right thing, generates more goodwill and galvanizes your customer more than any marketing you can do”
“you do not have a choice but to promote your proactivity in sustainability. You are being defined by your customer. If you do not write about your company, someone else will”
“sustainability is not a tomorrow problem”
“more important than learning the message is not getting across is learning who came to this meeting to hear to hear it – 17 brands, retailers and uniform companies I would not have met under any other circumstance”
“this is not an initiative, its a movement”
“I don’t know if the world is really flat but I know it isn’t level. I hoped this meeting would be a tipping point and it clearly was”

Here it is, 10 years later, with the heritage of world-class sustainability and social responsibility in the Americas – and along comes a headline like this? We have a marketing problem. Let's do something about that!

Footwear News: FEB 3, 2020
Outdoor Market’s Biggest Failure: Inability to Communicate Sustainability

Sustainability is a critically important pillar of the outdoor industry. And yet, it has trouble communicating eco-friendly messaging to its consumers.

Last week during the Outdoor Retailer winter trade show in Denver, The NPD Group senior industry adviser Matt Powell lambasted the efforts put forth by brands and retailers concerning eco-friendly initiatives.

“This industry has been at the forefront of sustainability as an idea, I think we’ve done a terrible job of telling the consumer what we’re doing with sustainability,” Powell told a room full of the market’s major players during NPD’s biannual industry breakfast. “We need to be much more overt.”

Its inability to communicate effectively may be hindering its chance to capitalize on a tremendous opportunity.

According to data provided by NPD, more than 1 in 3 consumers say they’d pay a premium for eco-friendly products or brands, a number that increases to nearly 1 in 2 for Gen Z and millennial shoppers.

Finding this project on shelves, however, may be difficult for consumers. Read More