There was applause when Arne Strate, Managing Director of the European Outdoor Group (EOG), introduced his new Vice President. After all, Antje von Dewitz is one of the most famous personalities in the outdoor industry. The Vaude managing director succeeds Jean-Marc Pambet, CEO of Salomon until recently. "I am proud to be the new vice president of the EOG," von Dewitz said. She has been part of the EOG with her company for many years, most recently she was also a board member of the group.
Strate led through the programme as moderator and laughed quite a lot on Sunday morning at the press conference in the Pressezentrum West at Messe München. This is a little bit how he embodies the industry, which is still in a very good mood and looks into the future positively, as the EOG survey among the more than 100 members showed.
This year, the "It's great out there Coalition" (IGOT) will be in focus. Since 2017, the EOG has been working hard to get people outdoors. She has cooperated with schools or associations for this purpose. The coalition "takes care that people are motivated and introduced to sports in nature in a sustainable way," says Strate.
"Of course the active ones are part of it, but the main focus is on the people who are not doing anything yet." Getting people off the sofa ultimately helps not only industry, but also society as a whole. Always with the idea in mind that "physical activity, especially outdoors, significantly improves mental health", as Andrew Denton, Secretary General of the IGOT campaign, says.
The new vice-president von Dewitz, who also has a strong focus on nature conservation, also wants to work on this: "We have a major climate crisis out there, species are dying and only a few years are left to ensure that young people have a future," she said at the beginning of her speech. The EOG must therefore ensure that its members act. Their vision is to launch a profitable business, "in which our members give back more than we take from nature and people". The first step towards this goal is the Sustainability Charter, which most of the EOG brands have signed.
Besides von Dewitz, Peter Ottervanger is also new to the EOG. The former Icebreaker CEO will act as Head of Retail in the future. This shows that the EOG also wants to involve more traders in the future. For example, there are now meetings where the future of trade or a project for data exchange via EDI are discussed. "We need to get more people to be active. Retailers can also help," says Ottervanger.