Championing Conservation at OutDoor

Release date: 15 July 2013

There was an air of celebration at this year’s OutDoor party in Friedrichshafen as the names of the 2013 Conservation Champions and Summit Members of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) were announced.

Following the announcement to the nearly 5,000 strong crowd that EOCA had not only signed up its 100th member, but also signed up a further 6 companies at the show itself, the prestigious awards were presented to 5 companies who had made the most impact on conservation over the year via their involvement with EOCA.

The Summit Member is a new award to recognise those companies which take it upon themsleves to fund entire conservation projects through EOCA. By making this tremendous commitment, these companies make a significant contribution to conservation work which fits with the ethos of their company, or which is of particular interest to them. The first ever EOCA Summit Members were announced as: Original Buff, S.A. which has chosen to support the ‘Mountain Forests of Catalonia’ project, in addition to 6 other projects it has funded over the last 2 years. The North Face is funding a winter conservation programme implemented by Respect the Mountains designed to educate and inspire up to 50 young people as well as enable them to take part in hands on conservation work.

As in previous years, the EOCA Conservation Champion award is about members getting involved, taking the initiative and making a difference for conservation! Companies receiving this recognition had ‘gone the extra mile’ to support conservation through the association. There were three winners this year.

The North Face becomes a Summit Member
The North Face becomes a Summit Member

The first was Polartec – for raising awareness within the industry via messages on 4,800 tshirts at OutDoor, the Saturday night party and climbing festivals. This in turn has led to new members joining EOCA and therefore more money to spend on conservation. KEEN footwear has raised additional funds for EOCA at all of the recent trade shows in their own cool, relaxed fashion. Icecream, beer, entertainment and footwear sales have proved very popular and resulted in an extra €10,000 being put directly into conservation projects in the last 2 years. Finally Bergans of Norway has taken the initiative at each trade show to raise additional funds for the association and enhance conservation awareness. From hosting happy hours, holding competitions, and providing prizes, this enthusiastic member has also provided additional support to EOCA funded projects and nominated their sponsoerd polar explorer Rune Gjeldnes as an EOCA ambassador.

“All these members have gone above and beyond simply paying a membership fee to EOCA,” explained Tanya Bascombe, Joint General Manager of EOCA,”and we are thrilled to be able to honour them in this way. There are so many ways to support and protect our wild spaces and get involved in spreading the message about conservation, and these awards demonstrate how our members are embracing that opportunity”.

The six newest members of EOCA who signed up at the show were Goal Zero, LiteXpress, Montane, Qualiance International, Craghoppers and The Original Mountain Marathon - taking the current number of EOCA members to 108!

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EOCA-funding for the Saving Mount Everest project helped us to reduce the amount of waste and to develop a better understanding for an adequate and sustainable waste management in the National Park and World Nature Heritage Mount Everest region.
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