It's here, it's there, it's everywhere outdoor gear...
“Mega!” This was the response from Trail Magazine's Graham Thompson to EC's outdoor gear special in EC 125. Graham who reviews outdoor gear for Trail, the UK's leading walking and outdoor magazine said:
“This is the best ethical overview overview of the outdoor industry I have ever read and sadly it is pretty damning of the industry. Well done for highlighting the issue.”
The good news is that our outdoor gear special generated some of the best press coverage that EC has received in recent years – and helped to ruffle a few outdoor industry feathers in the process.
Apart from Graham's feedback, our outdoor gear special got widespread and positive coverage in the specialist outdoor press, for example here's how The Great Outdoors Magazine and Grough reported the buyers' guide.
The Scottish press also picked up on the story. Amazingly as a result of this the Scotsman's gear reviewer Roger Cox made a very public pledge in his column never to review any gear which has an Ethiscore of below 10 – an exciting and remarkable first for EC:
As is usual for our newly published Buyers' Guides we were able to write a blog on the Guardian's website. What wasn't so usual though was the way that other bloggers around the world picked up on the story with the result that the buyers' guide went viral and shot global virtually overnight. We ended being covered a blogger in Australia, as well countless other blogspots around the world including this one in the US-based Utne Reader.
So why was our outdoor gear special such a hit? Well we reckon it was because this was the first time that the spotlight of publicity had been shone on the outdoor industry's ethical record – and a not too pretty picture was revealed.
Here's what Bob Howe an outdoor gear designer with Howe Design Group in the US said in a letter to us: “As one of the leading commercial interests in the Outdoors the utter failure (of the outdoor gear industry) to even cursorily address environmental issues around the manufacture of "high tech" outdoor gear is reprehensible...In the end there are no ready answers that I know of, but in reality none of the companies in the US are looking very hard. They need a push.”
Well Bob, this is exactly what we aimed to do with the outdoor gear special and we intend to keep up the pressure in the coming months.
To buy the Buyers' Guide click here.