The North Face is the latest brand to announce it will attend Outdoor Retailer this summer, in spite of a growing boycott.
The North Face's president, Scott Baxter, wrote a letter to the industry on Friday afternoon, asking industry stakeholders to show support for the Outdoor Industry Association, non-profits, and small brands by attending Outdoor Retailer this summer.
We've republished Baxter's letter in its entirety below.
To our industry partners and friends,
For more than 50 years, we’ve fought to protect our wild places because our public lands are one of the most vital shared spaces of our civilization. We see the decisions of the Utah policy makers as direct and irrefutable threats to what we hold most dear. We will not sit back. We will press these issues, taking them as far as we need to until we see the safety and protection of our public lands made secure.
We believe we can be most effective in this cause by staying at the OR show at this time. To honor the foundation upon which our brand was built - is to support and rally for our shared beliefs together. As with many issues, there is no simple answer. Leaving the OR show, as others have stated they will do, is a clear message that we hope impacts the decision making of those sitting in the Utah State Capitol. However, it unfortunately also means devastating many of the smaller businesses that attend OR, many of which depend upon their time at the show. Leaving OR would mean throwing hurdles in the way of important work that NGOs and non-profits are doing for the very causes we’re today fighting for – saving our public lands from commercial development and devastating energy infrastructure. Leaving OR would also mean removing ourselves from the coalitions and partnerships that focus real time and money on pushing new standards in sustainability, materials development, manufacturing, and other initiatives that make us all better businesses and corporate citizens. We want progress and it takes a unified industry to get there.
Most importantly, no one company can create the change that we need right now. It will take every brand, every partner, every soul to fight. We must be louder and stronger than our opposition and that means everyone coming together. We can’t do that if we leave the OIA to fight on their own – with fewer resources.
We agree that OR should leave Utah, but we’re going to help the OIA and Outdoor Retailer search for a new, better location. In the meantime, we’re going to let Utah know how we feel. We are working on this right now and when we arrive in July, we will not leave without making our values and concerns heard – that public lands need to remain public. We can only be effective if we show up, gear up, and lead up.
Please join us in this fight.
Group President, The North Face