Sustainability // 07/15/2022

Sustainability Issue: Marketing Plays Too Big a Role

Lars Becker

How can retailers make their customers more aware of sustainability? How can brands communicate this important topic more transparently? The answer: with the help of the "Retail Sustainability Platform" - initiated by the European Outdoor Group (EOG).

The "Knowledge Internet Platform" project of the European Outdoor Group (EOG) aroused great interest among representatives from the retail and brand sectors when it was presented. Actually, the launch of the "Retail Sustainability Platform" was planned for 2020 - but then there were completely different challenges due to the Corona pandemic. Two years later, however, the time seems ripe for a joint knowledge platform for the outdoor industry on the topic of sustainability.

EOG calls on retailers to cooperate

"We think now is exactly the right time for a common sustainability platform. We are calling on all interested retailers to participate in the development and tell us what exactly is needed," explained Dr. Katy Stevens, who is responsible for sustainability at EOG. In an initial discussion, it became clear that the need for information on the topic of sustainability in the retail sector is very great.

Retailers to collaborate on platform development

Too Much Marketing, Too Little Uniformity

There is a lot of information on the subject of sustainability from the brands themselves, but each manufacturer sets the focus differently according to its goals, he says. Marketing often plays too big a role in this, Stevens emphasizes. The desire to develop "a centralized knowledge platform on the topic of sustainability, in which the entire outdoor industry agrees on a uniform terminology of terms," emerged in the conversation. As an example, the sustainability expert cited the word "biodegradable," which is defined differently.

Sustainability: Information Does Not End up with End Customers

Stevens emphasized that it is also "super important for manufacturers to bring information about sustainability to the customer. Although there are many good projects and information, this often does not reach consumers in full. It is now important to get as many brands and retailers as possible on board with the Retail Sustainability Platform. This is also important so that intelligent training programs can be developed that complement the training courses on sustainability already taking place in the retail sector.

ISPO Award winner Ortovox supports CO2 reduction projects

Sustainability Platform: Four Areas Planned

Stevens presented the four main points planned for the new platform. The centerpiece is a "General Training Course" that will give European retail employees flexible access to training. The second point is to install a news feed on the subject of sustainability, where the latest developments can be called up at any time. The third point is an onboarding campaign to introduce the retail sector and its employees to the issue. Add-on services from EOG and cooperation partners are also planned as a fourth point. "To increase retail engagement in the stores, for example, in-store sustainability champions could be crowned," the EOG draft states.

Decarbonisation Fund Supports CO2 Reduction Projects

Another EOG project on the topic of sustainability is the Decarbonization Fund. Brands such as Ortovox pay part of their revenue into a fund that supports projects to reduce CO2-reduction projects in the outdoor industry. This is an important contribution to the topic of sustainability; after all, around ten percent of the world's CO2-emissions come from the textile industry. Stevens: "Just as with the Retail Sustainability Platform, it is important that as many brands and retailers as possible join in. The more we are, the bigger we become, the more we are heard, and the more we can advance the issue of sustainability."

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Lars Becker