Thomas Becker

Assessments from the Retail Lounge of OutDoor by ISPO

How Sustainability Becomes a Competitive Advantage for Outdoor Retailers

Outdoor without sustainability? Impossible nowadays! Outdoor manufacturers have long since recognized that. But sustainability is also a trump card for retailers. has asked around - and still found room for improvement.

Sustainability pioneer Patagonia makes clear visual statements on the subject of sustainability at its stand.
Sustainability has become a frequent reason for outdoor customers to buy certain products

Sustainability has long been a factor in purchasing behaviour: Surveys show that the majority of customers want even more products, services and retailers with "green labels" to promote and implement sustainability through their purchases.

But how well are retailers prepared for these needs? The debate in the Retail Lounge of OutDoor by ISPO was devoted to this wide field, and the speakers managed to give retailers a few tips. An overview:

"It's Not Too Late to Get into the Subject!"

Anny Cardinahl, sustainability expert at the European Outdoor Group (EOG):

"It's not too late to get into the subject! But do it now, not in two years! There are already some lighthouse projects, but also many niches. Don't wait for the industry, push it yourself in your direction!"

Gabriel Arthur, Chief Editor of Suston (Sustainable Outdoor News):

"Salespeople have to be good storytellers and convinced of their products - and they have to be familiar with them! A survey of more than 1100 retailers in Western and Northern Europe showed that 72 percent of all retailers believe that customers would be willing to spend more money on "green" products - but only eleven percent of major retailers coach their employees on sustainability. In addition, customers' questions about sustainability often do not reach the executive floor."

Some Retailers Lack the Knowledge

Joel Svedlund, sustainability expert at Peak Innovation:

"What can a retailer do in terms of sustainability? Acquire knowledge! Attend courses. Subscribe to our newsletter. Many retailers already have the 'really good stuff' in their shops, but don't even know how good it is! In a self-experiment I found out: A retailer missed asking me the right questions even though I was interested in a higher priced product."

"We Need Facts, Not Claims!"

Jukka Saarikorpi, co-founder of the e-commerce shop Weekendbee, which only sells sustainable products:

"It is important for retailers not to talk badly about unsustainable products. We do not want to attract negative attention from the customer, but to promote a positive feeling when buying. The problem is that the most sustainable brands are often still unknown. My tip: Look what the smaller companies are doing - they are often faster than the big ones. What is also important for us is that not only one product of a brand must be sustainable, but the whole brand. In general, it must become easier for customers to find sustainable products."

Martin Kössler, CEO and founder of HuginBiz:

"We need facts, not claims! When it comes to sustainability, the outdoor industry has long since assumed a role model function for fashion."

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Thomas Becker
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