European Outdoor Group agrees key change to deliver increased industry cooperation

In an extraordinay assembly held on 9 July, members of the European Outdoor Group (EOG) agreed key changes to bylaws that will allow retailers to become members of the association.

The present system of a minimum turnover threshhold for eligibilty will continue, but a new Membership Committee will be formed and will be tasked with assessing whether or not applicants are willing to agree to the objectives of the EOG and work in cooperation with other members for the benefit of the whole sector. Once accepted by the committee, new members will join on an equal status and conditions as existing EOG members.

Rolf Schmid, President of the European Outdoor Group, comments:

“This is a very significant moment for the EOG. It was the board’s opinion that expanding membership to include retailers was a vital step to take and I am delighted that our members have approved the proposals presented to them. The days of drawing artificial lines between these different parts of the same industry are gone and welcoming retailers into the EOG will allow us to focus on working even more effectively to inform, promote and represent the whole sector in everything that we do.”

Retailers who are interested in joining the EOG should contact the General Secretary, Mark Held, at mark.held@europeanoutdoorgroup.com, to find out more about the full list of membership criteria and the process for gaining membership.

During the summer meeting, the EOG also decided against changing the final day of the OutDoor show to a public day. This followed months of discussions, research and analysis of the proposals, and a lively debate at the EOG meeting.

Rolf Schmid adds:

"It is clear from our discussions that we all recognise the need to find more effective ways of interacting directly with our consumers, but we were unable to see a way of achieving this with an OutDoor public day, in a way that would balance with the trade focus of the event as it currently stands.  Together with our trade and retail partners, we will continue to look at how a better interaction with the consumer might be achieved and as a group we will explore the options open to us.”

The debate about how the EOG meets the needs of consumers in terms of events will be addressed at a members’ meeting immediately before this year’s European Outdoor Summit (15 and 16 October), by when retailer members will be able to contribute to this important process from the start.

The summer meeting was also used to re-launch the improved SIGNS project. SIGNS (Sustainability, International Guide to Norms and Standards) is an independent industry webtool that provides relevant information on existing and upcoming regulations, standards, frameworks and labels. SIGNS is designed to help companies navigate through the complex web of regulatory requirements, voluntary initiatives and labels that affect the outdoor industry.

At the moment, SIGNS hosts valuable overview information about 88 standards, regulations and organisations (five new articles have been added since May this year). The information is open for anyone who is interested to view. For full access to SIGNS, users need to register and agree to terms and conditions.

During the summer meeting, EOG CSR and sustainability manager Pamela Ravasio revealed plans for the future of SIGNS. The project is moving to a new, improved platform at signs.europeanoutdoorgroup.com, where the intention is to add a further 15 articles during the next 10 months. The EOG is working with MCL Global (publishers of Ecotextile News) to achieve those aims.

The EOG welcomed new member Ortovox to the summer meeting, taking the total membership (full members) to 61. In addition, the EOG also works closely with nine other national outdoor associations.

Mark Held, general secretary of the EOG, comments:

“The EOG summer meeting was a great credit to the organisation. Attendance was excellent and our members made two very well informed, important decisions. As our sector continues to mature on a global scale, more than ever we need an association that can drive cooperation and provide up to date insights about the key issues that outdoor businesses face. I am certain that the addition of retailers as members will improve the EOG’s ability to represent and promote all sections of the outdoor industry, to the wider business community and to important political decision makers.”

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For additional media information please contact Chris Lines on +44 (0)7971 868329, chris@rightlines.info or www.twitter.com/chrisjlines.

Note to editors

About the EOG:

The European Outdoor Group was originally 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 member brands (61 in number, plus a close cooperation with nine national outdoor associations), provides the group with an extremely powerful force to represent the European outdoor industry in a constructive and positive manner.