Winter Sports Sustainability Network launches landmark Climate Pact
The Winter Sports Sustainability Network (WSN) has established a groundbreaking ‘Climate Pact’, bringing together prominent ski, snowboard, binding and boot brands and organisations to accelerate environmental sustainability efforts within the industry.
Signatories include the International Biathlon Union, as well as the likes of Atomic, Black Crows, Blizzard, Burton, Capita, Dalbello, Decathlon, Elan, Fischer, Jones Snowboards, K2, Kästle, Marker, OneWay, Rossignol, Salomon, Stöckli, Tecnica, The Nidecker Group and Völkl.
WSN is managed by Sweden-based Peak 63, a provider of sustainability guidance and business intelligence for the sports and outdoor sector, and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), in partnership with Snowsports Industries America (SIA).
The pact commits WSN members to “take decisive action to meet the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement” by focusing on five key principles that reflect the industry’s “role in the global environmental challenges through the products, value chains, activities and travels it generates”.
Underlining this pledge, one of the development pillars is to join the UN Race to Zero Campaign before the end of this year with “validated climate targets through internationally verified climate initiatives”.
Other stated principles include focusing efforts on required greenhouse gas emission reductions, to keep global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement; encouraging collaborative action, with more ‘climate advanced’ companies supporting less advanced peers; leveraging the group’s collective influence to advocate for progressive policy changes; and publicly addressing climate change as a top management priority.
Jan Stala, Managing Partner of Peak 63, told Global Sustainable Sport that an initial version of the pact was presented to the WSN during his company’s spring meeting in Bled, Slovenia, in April 2023.
“Part of the pact is based on the SIA Climate Pact. But it has been adapted and sharpened by, for example, adding the requirement of joining the UN Race to Zero Campaign before end of 2024,” Stala explained.
“We have also made sure that it aligns with the current and coming requirements of other industry organisations, of which some of the WSN members are also members. There has been a discussion and collaborative effort, and all WSN members have been invited to give comments, suggest changes and add-ons before the final version.”
FESI Secretary General Jérôme Pero said: “While our industry cannot tackle the global climate challenge on its own it still has a part to play, the hardgoods industry decided not to sit on the sidelines and wait for others to act and watch the snow literally melt away.
“Therefore, we collectively decided to sit at the drawing boards and act. FESI is happy to be part of such a critical initiative.”
“Given the global nature of the winter sports industry, it's imperative that we tackle climate change on a global scale."
SIA President Nick Sargent added: “Given the global nature of the winter sports industry, it’s imperative that we tackle climate change on a global scale. SIA and WSN co-developed the Climate Pact in an effort to engage the global winter sports community around a set of meaningful commitments.
“Having the most influential hard goods brands join the Climate Pact, not only aligns us on a defined path forward, but also shows the world that we’re tackling climate at the speed and scale that it demands.”
Signatories have been quick to speak of their approval of the pact.
“As an industry in the face of change, let’s be bold and brave to build a desirable future for skiing – one that is sustainable,” Decathlon’s Head of Sustainability for Sports & Products, Isabelle Guyader, said. “To achieve this, our intention is to foster collaboration for a bigger impact, both within and beyond Decathlon.”
Leon Korošec, Director of the Wintersports Division and Vice-President at Elan Group, added: “We all belong to a group of brands that promotes and celebrates outdoor activities in snow-covered mountains and for us at Elan, coming from the heart of Slovene Alps, it feels very natural to engage into activities that will support a better future, and to go on this journey together with like-minded colleagues from the industry.”
Protect Our Winters – an organisation that has played a proactive role in lobbying governing bodies in the winter sports space to take more action on climate change in recent months – has also welcomed the collaborative pledge.
“As a sector acutely impacted by climate change it must act to safeguard its own future but also recognise changes it sees, in the mountains it relies on, are but the precursors of impacts already critically affecting communities far less fortunate than our own,” Dan Yates, Director of Partnerships and Initiatives at Protect Our Winters Europe, said.
Xavier Nidecker, Director of Nidecker Group, added: “Addressing climate change can’t wait, the stakes are too high for both our planet and our industry. The WSN Climate Pact is an important step as it unites the industry and helps us leverage our collective power to advocate for progressive climate policies and find creative solutions to reduce the impact of our products and customers.”