Beth Jensen, Corporate Responsibility Manager
Outdoor Industry Association
Portland Development Commission Funds Eco Index™ Training for Portland-area Companies
June 2, 2011 (Boulder, CO) – Outdoor apparel and footwear companies in Portland, Oregon will soon have the opportunity to accelerate their adoption of the Outdoor Industry Association Eco Index™ thanks to a grant from the Portland Development Commission.
In development since 2007, the Eco Index is an environmental impact assessment tool providing a common language and framework to benchmark and measure product-level sustainability throughout the supply chain. The Eco Index identifies areas for improvement and provides guidance to help companies make informed sourcing and product life cycle decisions.
The grant funding provided by PDC, which will be matched by OIA, will allow several Portland-based outdoor brands to receive individualized training and resources to speed the implementation of the Eco Index within their companies. The funds will also support the development of tools that will allow all brands in the outdoor industry to adopt the Index.
Last November, PDC unveiled an effort to nurture the Athletic and Outdoor Industry (A&O) business cluster, a group of businesses in Portland that includes more than 300 firms employing 14,000 Oregonians.
“The Eco Index was specifically identified by our industry leaders as an important initiative in PDC’s A&O action plan, which in turn is a key element of the city’s job creation strategy,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “The Eco Index leverages the commitment, expertise and leadership of Portland area companies and our competitiveness as the hub of the industry, and we’re pleased to provide our support.”
It is hoped that the PDC grant program will serve as a model for providing similar Eco Index implementation support to companies in other cities. Program results will be presented to the outdoor industry at the annual OIA Rendezvous thought leader conference in Portland in October 2011.
Once again, PDC has stepped up to the plate to provide funding for the outdoor industry’s sustainability initiatives at a critical time. In 2008, the Portland Development Commission provided the initial $30,000 in seed funding to allow the outdoor industry to begin the work of developing the Eco Index. PDC has been a major financial supporter of the Eco Index work since that time.
“With PDC’s support, participating companies will receive guidance on building the Eco Index into their business functions. We believe the program will provide learnings and tools that can be replicated and applied across the outdoor industry to help achieve widespread adoption of the Eco Index among outdoor brands and retailers,” said Amy Roberts, OIA vice president of government affairs.
The Eco Index is a collaboration between the OIA Eco Working Group (EWG) and the European Outdoor Group (EOG) Sustainability Working Group (SWG), collectively encompassing approximately 200 outdoor companies from throughout the supply chain and around the world. The Index content and tools are freely available for use by all companies at ecoindexbeta.org.
If you are a Portland-area business interested in participating in this program, please contact Beth Jensen, OIA corporate responsibility manager, at 303.327.3517.
About Portland Development Commission
Created by Portland voters in 1958, the Portland Development Commission (PDC) plays a major role in making Portland one of America’s most livable cities. As Portland’s urban renewal and economic development agency, PDC is pursuing an aggressive strategy to create the most sustainable economy in the world, by connecting people and resources to achieve the city’s vision of social equity, healthy neighborhoods, a vibrant central city, a strong regional economy, and quality jobs and housing for all.
About Outdoor Industry Association
Founded in 1989, Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. Over 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers of outdoor recreation equipment and services, as well as other related business entities, make up OIA’s membership. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, cutting-edge market research, member cost-saving benefits and outreach initiatives to grow participation in outdoor activities and promote healthier lifestyles. Educational events include the annual Outdoor Industry Rendezvous, Outdoor University, and the Capitol Summit in Washington, D.C. Outdoor Industry Association is the exclusive endorser of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow. For more information, go to outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.