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COP28 Global Innovation Hub – The Outdoor Industry: The most important climate and global sustainability solution provider?

December 11, 2023
Dubai, UAE
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Mission Innovation’s NCI and the UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub co-hosted the event “The Outdoor Industry: The most important climate and global sustainability solution provider?“, on why the outdoor industry may be the most important area for an expanded innovation agenda and global sustainability, highlighting that the outdoor industry have a significant role in contributing to core human needs on a global scale. For apparel and related companies, the discussion in relation to sustainability should focus on the “wardrobe” concept, rather than addressing production and supply issues, and companies should focus on promoting healthy and sustainable behaviour. As part of the event, the Outdoor Climate Innovation Tool was also launched together with the Dubai Outdoor Solution Declaration, that will provide an agenda for the working groups that will work to explore the outdoor sector as a solution provider during 2024.


Massamba Thioye, Project Executive, UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub

Dennis Pamlin, Executive Director, Mission Innovation NCI / Senior Advisor, RISE

Christian Schneidermeier, CEO Ortovox

David Eklund, CEO, Icebug

Marie-Laure Piednoir, Global Sustainability and Impact Direction, Salomon

Arne Strate, General Secretary, European Outdoor Group

Emma P (Mason) Zwiebler, Interim CEO, World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) (recorded video)

Johan Nihlén, Founder and CEO, Altered

Marvin Henry, Climate Action and Avoided Emissions WBCSD

Christian Schneidermeier from Ortovox discussed a human development where many have lost their connection “to themselves” and to their real needs, as well as the connection to nature, which in his view are the basis for being capable of taking responsible decisions. By bringing as many people outside as possible, it is possible to support people in having unforgettable experiences in/with nature. By understanding “how precious and great” nature is, more people will understand the need to take sustainable action.

David Eklund from Icebug described the journey from a business with a product focus, to a solution provider that contributes on a system level in society. Icebug has identified what the core of their business is, focusing on increasing the number of uses for their apparel products and moving from viewing their customer as a consumer to a user, so that they may become co-creators in promoting outdoor lives for others.

Marie-Laure Piednoir from Salomon described their insights into how to make outdoor lives accessible and enable a deeper connection with nature to enable a transformation of the outdoor and sportswear industry. The basis of this change is that “nature is what makes better people, and that better people can create change”.

Arne Strate from European Outdoor Group described the shared need for outdoor companies to work together on a neutral platform to solve their shared challenges. He described a sector that are very aware of what is needed and that have identified what can and should be done, based on the three pillars of “Business, Nature, Activity”, to promote healthy outdoor lives for the general population.

Emma P. (Mason) Zwiebler from WFSGI promoted multi-stakeholder collaboration and physical activity, linking global health to climate change, highlighting that rising levels of inactivity and ill health increases the number of people that are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. She announced a signing of a memorandum of understanding between WFSGI and WHO that outlines a collaborative framework to encourage physical activity participation to improve global health.

Johan Nihlén from Altered presented the need for global improvements to water supply, presenting their solution to re-shape water so that it is used more efficiently, which requires lower flows while keeping functionality and experience of water tap usage, enabling reduction in both cost and energy to a resource that is essential to enabling active and healthy lives.

Marvin Henry from WBCSD discussed avoided emissions for solutions, and highlighted their work to move from a compliance and inventory perspective on climate change, to a focus on opportunity, comparing scenarios where specific innovations are not implemented to pinpoint the impact on consumption and the overall supply chain emissions. This is also a way to push for decarbonization by navigating the innovation system towards impactful solutions.