ClimateUnited is a snow sports industry roadmap that provides every winter outdoor company with the guidance to make a collective statement, reduce carbon emissions and be a voice for strong climate policy. The ClimateUnited roadmap was developed within Snowsports Industries America (SIA). The national trade association for the winter outdoor industry has about 600 company members including a cross section of entities such as product suppliers, representatives, retailers, ski areas and other associations. The ClimateUnited effort is under the auspices of SIA Director of Advocacy Chris Steinkamp.
The outdoor industry is valued at a combined $887 billion, and has been coming together to face climate change. Steinkamp commented, “The questions are: How can you get your employees to embrace this? How can you change your mission? How can you start creating more sustainable products? It’s more of a holistic view of climate action than a lot of the other programs that are out there.”
The four pillars of ClimateUnited guide companies in key areas such as emission reductions both in operations and supply chains, integrating climate concerns into business strategy, vision, mission, investments R & D, and influencing policy with governments on all levels. Since its inception, there are about 20 brands that supported ClimateUnited including for example, Burton Snowboards, Rossignol, K2, 686, Hestra, Seirus, Jackson Hole, and Ski Utah. The companies are asked to sign the Winter Outdoor Industry Climate Pact which is a step toward tangible goals that incorporate actions such as the pillars outlined above.
According to Steinkamp, the ClimateUnited program could be viewed as a first step on the journey to net zero by “providing SIA members with guidance for climate action.” The outdoor industry has already come together to lobby on federal policy related to climate change under the Outdoor Business Climate Partnership which includes the Outdoor Industry Association, the National Ski Areas Association and SIA. The ClimateUnited effort will provide a platform which is under development to share educational resources that would help companies create benchmarks, access specialists for expertise and opportunities, provide open source sharing for best practices and strengthen existing efforts, collaboration, and advocacy. This platform will include content webinars and experts sharing information on topics such as efficient operating systems, renewable energy, responsible resource and waste management, and effective interactions with elected officials, all of which can have an impact on climate.
Jenn Swain, Director of Global Sustainability at Burton Snowboards in Burlington, VT stated, “Climate change is a threat to the sport we love, and Burton is proud to continue its longstanding efforts in climate action and climate policy advocacy with increased alignment in the industry through ClimateUntited.”
The snow sports business is a $76 billion industry which is dependent on consistent winter seasons which have already become shorter and more volatile. The northern hemisphere has already lost more than one million square miles of spring snowpack, and, according to various emissions scenarios, the length of the winter recreation season is projected to be reduced 50% by 2050 for some alpine ski locations. The industry is trying to address the issues, but it realizes that the rest of the planet will need to help.
Roger Lohr of Lebanon, NH, who owns and edits XCSkiResorts.com, has published articles and promotional topics on snow sports, sustainability, and trails in regional and national media. He is also the Recreational Editor for Green Energy Times.
Caption (Photo coming)
Burton Senior Sustainability Manager, Jenn Swain, amidst the solar array at Burton headquarters. Photo by Jesse Dawson.