European Outdoor Group Annual Assembly showcases a dynamic, forward looking industry

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) has held its Annual Assembly in Munich, ahead of ISPO. The meeting was attended by almost 90 senior executives from Europe’s leading outdoor brands and showcased a vibrant industry and a dynamic trade association. The EOG board and management team updated the meeting on activities during the last 12 months and presented plans for 2014. EOG President David Udberg stood down after serving his two year term and Rolf Schmid (CEO of Mammut Sports Group) was elected to the role for 2014-2015. During the meeting, a resolution was taken to, in principle, expand membership of the EOG and allow outdoor retailers to join the organisation.

New president Rolf Schmid, comments: 

“The pace of change in the outdoor industry shows no sign of slowing. Our sector is becoming more professional, global and high profile all the time. These are positive developments, but they bring significant challenges with them and at the EOG we have adapted our agenda and approach to ensure the we can continue to effectively support and represent our sector. The decision to integrate retail in our association is a key milestone for our organisation. Especially in the field of CSR and sustainability there are serious challenges ahead, and meanwhile we all have a vested interest in inspiring more people to follow an active outdoor lifestyle – together, we will be able to achieve more.” 

Details on the criteria for retailers to be eligible to join the EOG will be drafted by a dedicated working group and published in the second half of 2014. 

The EOG Annual Assembly was held on Saturday 25 January, at Messe München. The event’s agenda included updates, debates and proposals on a wide range of topics, such as: market research; corporate social responsibility (CSR); sustainability, and elections of the EOG President, Vice President and board members. 

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability 

Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) remain core focus areas of the EOG’s work. On the CSR side, the association has been making good progress with its work on traceability standards for down, in its cooperation with the Fair Wear Foundation on employment conditions, and in ongoing dialogue with other multi-stakeholder NGOs. On the sustainability side, the EOG is playing an important role in the development of the Higg Index, but still faces challenges on certain chemical issues and is working hard to find solutions for these. 

Election of President, Vice President and board members 

Outgoing EOG President David Udberg has not sought re-election, as he is no longer representing any one brand. Of the remaining board members, five have been re-elected: Bernd Kullmann (Deuter, Germany), Eddy Codega (CAMP, Italy), Jean-Marc Pambet (Salomon, France), Martin Axelhed (Fjällräven, Sweden), and Rolf Schmid (Mammut Sports Group, Switzerland). The term of John Jansen (KEEN, Netherlands) has one year to run. In addition, Richard Leedham (Berghaus, UK) was elected to the board. 

Following the recommendation of David Udberg and the board, Rolf Schmid has been elected as EOG President for a term of two years. Schmid has served as President before and has a deep understanding of the EOG and the outdoor industry. Bernd Kullmann has been re-elected as Vice-President. 

Mark Held, EOG General Secretary, commented: 

“I would like to thank David Udberg for his contribution to the EOG over many years. As President, he has provided excellent leadership during a period of great change for the association. Everyone involved in the EOG is grateful to him and we wish him very best wishes for the future.”

Market outlook 

With so many senior executives from the outdoor industry being together in the same room, the EOG took the opportunity to conduct a quick survey on the state of the market. When asked to rate overall business performance in 2013, 40% stated that it was better than expected (20% said slightly better and 20% said much better), just under 30% stated that it was as expected, and just over 30% stated that it was slightly worse than expected. When asked about prospects for 2014 compared to 2013, although it is very early in the year, there is a positive outlook, with almost 90% expecting business to improve (55% expect a slight improvement and 34% expect business to be much better); 10% expect business to be about the same as 2013. 

European Outdoor Summit 

The first details of the 2014 European Outdoor Summit (EOS) have been revealed. Following the success of the first summit, which was organised by the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG) and attracted over 300 delegates from 15 countries to Stockholm, the 2014 EOS will be held in Tegernsee near Munich, on 15 and 16 October. This is in line with the EOG’s stated intention of making the summit as accessible as possible and enabling more outdoor companies to attend the events over time. The EOG is working hard with the Bundesverband der Deutschen Sportartikel-Industrie (BSI) in Germany to develop the programme and more details will be announced in the near future. 

ISPO partnership 

The EOG’s ongoing partnership with ISPO continues to develop. ISPO has been the EOG’s partner in China for several years and that arrangement has worked very well for all sides involved. The EOG was honoured to have Klaus Dittrich, Chairman and CEO of Messe München joining its first outdoor industry press conference at ISPO, to update the sector about plans in Asia.