Inside the outdoor industry

EOCA proclaims record year

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The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) said it is celebrating its most successful year to date with a record number of new members, and more money than ever in one year spent on conservation projects.

It believes that the more than two thirds of funds raised already for its public fundraiser project and the launch of its Plastic Pledge have all combined to ensure that 2019 will be remembered as the year the association moved from being a ‘nice to do’ to becoming an essential part of a business’s CSR strategy.

Some 31 new members have joined the association over the last 12 months, the most recent being team-building and mountain skills company Adventure.ie, Spanish eco ski wax producer NZERO, Spanish ski wear company Söll World, Italian performance clothing company Redelk, Asian zip manufacturer HSD Zipper, German Merino wool headwear attire company Altidude, Polish fast and light outdoor clothing and equipment producer Cumulus and Italian neck and headwear producers Wind X-treme. This brings the total number of EOCA members to 158, a 23 per cent increase over the previous year.

Following the increase in membership numbers, it has also seen a leap in the amount of funding it has been able to put into conservation projects this year. In addition, contributions from The North Face, KEEN, Pomoca and Smartwool via EOCA’s Summit Membership programme have meant that in total EOCA has been able to commit €510,000 of funding for conservation projects this year.

A number of members have run specific campaigns to raise further funds for the association via consumer events (Original Buff, Arc’teryx), Black and Green Friday events (La Sportiva, Salewa) and other events (Gregory Packs and Ternua). This, combined with conservation fundraisers at ISPO and OutDoor by ISPO, has resulted in an additional €60,000 being available for project funding in 2020, on top of membership fees.

Finally, EOCA’s current focus on single use plastic Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea has seen the launch and take up of the trade show Plastic Pledge, to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used during trade shows, as well as during stand build and removal. To date 69 companies, including 8 non-members have signed the Pledge for ISPO in January, a 57 per cent increase on OutDoor by ISPO in June. OutDoor by ISPO also saw a 75 per cent reduction in carpets used and the provision of water fountains in all halls at the show, thanks to Messe München.

Perry Laukens, Sales & Business Development Director for KEEN Footwear EMEA and newly elected President of EOCA commented: “The last 12 months has been a really exhilarating time for EOCA in terms of growth, fundraising and significance in the mind of the industry. We have exciting plans for the organisation going forwards and this increased confidence and support from the outdoor sector will ensure that proactive care for our wild spaces will start to take centre stage in the minds of the leaders of our industry.”

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