"We believe that climate change is one of the most important issues in our society and that outdoor retailers should lead the way on this topic." So says Martin Stolzenberger, managing director at Bergzeit. The outdoor outfitter is one of the five founding members of the Outdoor Retailer Climate Commitment (ORCC), along with Yonderland, Bergfreunde, Sportler and Internet Stores. "This is a voluntary network of retailers in the European outdoor industry. All members commit to adopting ambitious targets that contribute to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement."
Since joining forces in 2021, the group has already made a big difference. "We've gained many new members, including some of the absolute premium sporting goods retailers in Europe," Stolzenberger enthuses. "In the meantime, the ORCC has come under the umbrella of the European Outdoor Group." Among other things, the EOG promotes sustainable practices in the industry and collaboration in outdoor retail. In addition, the ORCC has developed some best practices for decarbonization. Good for members and those who want to be: The findings are shared within the retailer community.
More insights into the work of the ORCC will be available on June 5, 2023 at an info event in the Sustainability Hub of OutDoor by ISPO.
Another ORCC member from the very beginning is the Yonderland Group. With more than 190 stores in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, it is one of the giants of the outdoor industry. Its CO₂ footprint, on the other hand on the other hand, is soon to be in the realm of dwarves. "How about we come together as retailers to take targeted action to meet the Paris climate change targets?" recalls Melanie Grünwald, Head of Sustainability at Yonderland, of the ORCC's beginnings. "We're all walking on the same path, able to learn from each other and check in with each other."
By now, nearly all retailers in the alliance have taken at least the first step toward greater climate protection. However, Grünwald knows that the lion's share of emissions lies in the production of raw materials and the manufacture of the outdoor articles themselves. She looks ahead: "We need a vertically integrated solution to share data on the emissions footprint of our products with all members. For this, we need the cooperation of our suppliers."
Sustainability rethought! In May 2023, Globetrotter opened its Re:Think store in Bonn. For this, the outdoor outfitter took over almost the entire furnishings of the previous tenant Conrad Electronic. Other pieces came from other stores or were purchased second-hand. "With the consistent reuse of the old inventory, our Re:Think store represents a true pioneering project," says Globetrotter CEO Andreas Vogler. Changing rooms made from advertising banners, backpack hangers made from irons, a hiking boot test track made from leftover materials - creative solutions were called for in the design.
"Since we want to know exactly how much material and CO₂we were able to save with the Re:Think concept, we had the project scientifically monitored," explains Miriam Ersch-Arnolds, PR Manager at Globetrotter. "We expect the results in the summer." The findings will then be incorporated into new projects.
In Bonn, the sustainable store concept includes care & repair services and secondhand offers in addition to the furnishings. In total, 15 of 22 Globetrotter stores have local workshops - used clothing and equipment are now stocked by all of them. Since last year, branded equipment in good condition has also been available online at Globetrotter. "Demand is currently much higher than our supply, so our focus is currently also on sourcing goods," says Ersch-Arnolds. Information about the Re:Think store in Bonn and Globetrotter's sustainable offerings and services can be found in the Sustainability Hub of OutDoor by ISPO.
"Trag's nomoi", that's what they say in Bavaria when you don't want a used piece of clothing to end up in the trash. NOMOI, meaning again, is also the name of Sport Conrad's secondhand program. In 2022, the project was first part of WIR DENKEN UM (WDU) week, a retailer's counter to the sale madness of Black Week. At the time, products could be cared for, repaired or consciously purchased. "We have to pull a lot of levers to move from a linear to a circular business model," says CEO Hans Conrad. "With NOMOI, we have taken another important step."
NOMOI is limited to brick-and-mortar retail. This not only saves emissions and money for ongoing marketing, but also reduces logistical effort. "We have a buying period and a selling period, which is very straightforward," explains Stefanie Buchacher, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Sport Conrad. Another advantage: addressing a new target group. "In the previous NOMOI rounds, we have for the most part welcomed new customers* who were consciously looking for secondhand or lovers' pieces." Most recently, between 80 and 90 percent of the 400 pieces given away went over the counter.
"At the sale, customers* receive 80 percent of the sale price in the form of a Sport Conrad gift certificate," Buchacher says. "Nineteen percent is retained for handling and one percent is donated to an environmental project." The next NOMOI purchase period at the three stores in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Penzberg and Wielenbach will be from June 24 to July 7, 2023, with sales taking place during WDU Week from July 8 to 15, 2023. In addition to the Maloja, Patagonia, Ortovox and Norrona brands, products from Peak Performance, Dynafit, Salewa, Vaude and Arc'teryx will then be available for the first time.
No more tedious typing of URLs, no more clicking through browser favorites: With Progressive Web Apps, your favorite online store lands right on your smartphone homescreen. ROSE Bikes also offers a shortcut to its virtual sales floor. For users, this increases the convenience of mobile shopping. And: "The display as an app icon on the home screen increases the bond between customers and the brand to their favorite store," says IT Director Daniel Vollmer.
Today's customers expect online stores to be easy and intuitive to use on mobile devices, says the expert. "In addition, browsing through the online store must be possible with high performance and without long loading times. A PWA supports this approach of moving through the online store quickly and efficiently, as it usually supports a seamless customer experience even with a poor Internet connection."
In contrast to the development of a native store app, the development effort of a PWA is significantly more cost-effective with the currently available technologies. Scarce development resources can thus be invested in the implementation of customer journey features in the online store. "And this then benefits the PWA again, since new features are also immediately available here," Vollmer explains. In an e-commerce study by creativestyle, ROSE Bikes was the only one of 20 online stores tested that already relies completely on PWA.
From the depths of the closet to new heights: Swiss retailer "2nd Peak" specializes in selling used outdoor clothing. "It's durable, has a longer fashion cycle, can be highly problematic in some cases when it comes to disposal by comparison - and it's expensive," explains founder Isa Schindler. Since February 2020, she and her team have already helped 16,000 worn pieces get a second life. That equates to a saving of 80 tons of CO₂ equivalent. In the meantime, 2nd Peak is represented with one store in Zurich and one in Bern.
In the meantime, word has spread about the sustainable concept. "We get so much good merchandise that we can constantly raise our standards and the quality of our range," Schindler is pleased to say. Even the look plays a role. Sometimes cool 30-year-old vintage pieces find their way into the assortment, other times five-year-old fashion slips don't make it into the selection. Schindler now has a keen sense for the quality of hardshells. "We have to judge them visually and haptically, and we have a pretty good handle on that by now." When it comes to shoes, the secondhand professionals look primarily at the soles.
By the way, those who shop at 2nd Peak may soon be wearing the clothing of prominent outdoor role models. Among others, alpinist Roger Schäli, splitboarder Levy Luggen and climber and ex-mountain biker Noah Blöchlinger offer their used equipment in the store.
Sustainable means consuming less and thus producing less. This conviction is certainly not commonplace for a retailer. It has made Dutch retailer Bever a pioneer in sustainability. "We're all about making our products last as long as possible," says Marketing & Communication Manager Marloes Bras. That starts with high-quality products, but also extends to maintenance and repair services that prolong the life of clothing & co.
In addition, Bever combats textile waste. While numerous - mostly well-intentioned - clothing donations often end up as mountains of waste in South America or Africa, the retailer has set up its own recycling program. "With our employees, we sort dropped-off outdoor gear and clothing and find the best solution for the products," Bras explains. "But we can't do that alone. That's why we're an initiator of the Circular Outdoor Industry Partnership." The CSO's involvement ranges from product maintenance to end-of-life processing.
"Currently, our sustainability activities are loss-making," Bras says. "But our vision is that in the future they will be part of a new business model focused on extending product life while offering new products."