Climate change is impacting America’s communities, infrastructure and economy – particularly the $887 billion outdoor recreation economy. Longer and hotter summers, unpredictable weather, prolonged droughts, increasingly frequent natural disasters like catastrophic floods and devastating wildfires, rising sea levels, warming waters, reduced river flows, and unreliable snowpacks are impacting the outdoor activities that our consumers enjoy, thereby having an impact on outdoor recreation participation and access.
Recent government reports have identified the urgency to address climate change and mitigate its impacts within the next decade. The Fourth National Climate Assessment identified outdoor recreation and tourism as parts of the American economy most impacted by climate change. Outdoor recreation businesses, our customers, and the nearly 150 million Americans who participate in outdoor activities each year are dependent on a stable climate and, as such, are committed to action. We are focused on both mitigating carbon emissions in our own supply chains and advocating for government policy that will enable the broad change that is needed across all global sectors.
Product innovation and environmental and social responsibility are core values for the outdoor industry and have led us to take proactive steps in developing best practices. We remain committed through our work in sustainability to:
- Work together to develop and adopt industry best practices and tools, such as the Higg Index, to measure supply chain climate-related impacts; set goals; and reduce those impacts at manufacturing facilities, headquarters, retail stores, and other company facilities through increased energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other strategies.
- Encourage the use of alternatives to coal-based energy, such as solar or wind power, into the energy portfolio for company facilities around the country.
- Support efforts to give preference to vendors, service providers, and production facilities, both foreign and domestic, that incorporate industry best practices (such as alternative energy sources and other carbon reduction strategies) into their operations.
Through these efforts and commitments, the outdoor industry is demonstrating that protecting the environment and promoting business growth can go hand in hand. However, climate change requires broader engagement at many levels. National, regional, and local elected leaders must play a key role by enacting policies that can both mitigate the current impacts of climate change and stop future degradation. We support policy solutions that will help create a pathway to a cleaner environment, promote job growth, incentivize infrastructure modernization and resiliency, and help push the American economy forward in a stronger and sustainable direction.
Comprehensive climate change solutions should include the following:
- The protection of and investment in natural greenspaces and recreation infrastructure throughout the nation as a form of carbon sequestration
- Adaptation strategies to inform and assist communities in protecting our changing ecosystem
- Appropriately managing and maintaining our public lands and waters to ensure their health
- Implementation of market-based instruments that incentivize and reward adoption of carbon reduction strategies and tools
- Innovative technology solutions to reduce carbon emissions
- The development of clean energy standards that ensure affordable, clean energy is available to communities across the country
- Investment in outdoor recreation assets and jobs to help communities transitioning from resource-intensive industries move toward a more sustainable and diverse economy
Climbers, paddlers, skiers, and hikers regularly tackle challenges head-on as they embark on the outdoor activities they love. Substantive and effective action on climate change will require that same drive and initiative from all of us. We are committed to addressing this most critical of challenges to ensure that every American can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors and foster the growth and success of the outdoor industry.