When President Donald Trump announced last week that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, the outdoor industry’s response was swift and strong: We will not stand for this.
This week, outdoor brands have been loud in their opposition to Trump’s decision and support for climate change mitigation. They’ve joined hundreds of other companies and city and state government leaders in publicly saying “We are still in,” and committing to uphold the conditions of the Paris Agreement even if their president will not.
“While we disagree with the decision, last week’s announcement from the White House has activated and inspired state and local governments, universities, non-governmental organizations and active citizenry to push – more than ever before and without federal government involvement – for clean energy solutions and policies,” wrote VF President, CEO, and Director Steve Rendle in a letter about Trump’s decision. VF brands include JanSport, The North Face, and Smartwool, among others. “As a leader in the apparel and footwear industries, VF will continue to do its part and join others to limit our emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
Patagonia, Columbia Sportswear, the Aspen Skiing Company, Vermont Ski Areas Association, NIKE, Clif Bar, Cotopaxi, the Outdoor Industry Association, American Outdoor Products, Eagle Creek, Brooks Sports, and Vail were among the outdoor industry companies and organizations to sign a pledge to uphold the agreement at WeAreStillIn.com.
“Aspen Skiing Company isn’t just opposing withdrawal from Paris,” said Auden Schendler, VP of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company, in a statement on WeAreStillIn.com. “We’re going to fight it to the ground, and we’re going to implement the Paris accords ourselves, in our business, in Colorado, and as soon as possible, nationally.”
NIKE will power all of its facilities around the world with renewable energy by 2025, and will work toward advancing its materials innovation, wrote Hannah Jones, VP, Innovation Accelerator, and Chief Sustainability Officer of NIKE.
“We are deeply disappointed by the recent shift in climate policy,” she said. “NIKE believes that climate change is a serious global threat and that the world will need to radically redesign industrial systems and economies in order to enable a low-carbon growth economy.”
The United States is one of only three countries in the United Nations to reject the Paris Climate Agreement. The other two are Syria and Nicaragua, and Nicaragua chose not to join because it thought the language in the agreement was not strong enough. Shortly after Trump’s decision, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to give the United Nations $15 million, to make up for the shortfall caused by the United States exiting the agreement.
“We believe that global climate change is a real environmental, economic and social challenge, warranting thoughtful and purposeful responses by all stakeholders,” Columbia CEO Tim Boyle said in a statement. “We recognize the impact our business and operations have on the environment and know we have a role to play in ensuring we use the best possible mix of energy resources to reduce the potential climate impact of our business.”