Sustainability Important to Outdoor Industry Executives Survey Finds

BGI MBA Student Team Partners With Outdoor Industry Rep Group Egan & Associates, LLC
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Seattle, Wash. – In an effort to define sustainability mindsets in the outdoor market, Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) and Egan & Associates, LLC will release the results of a unique survey to the outdoor industry. The survey data will be posted by July 30th and can be found on the BGI website at http://bgiedu.org/survey.intro.html.

"One of our goals for the MBA students was to develop a strategy for integrating the benefits of sustainable business into our everyday stakeholder interactions. The survey that the team developed and administered was simply a way to canvas those which would typically be part of the manufacturer - rep - retailer relationship. The feedback gathered from the survey has influenced our view of how we as reps can positively impact important environmental and social issues." Jackton Downard, Sales Associate and Sustainability Manager for Egan & Associates, LLC.

The research was conducted by students from BGI's MBA in Sustainable Business program and involved 32 manufacturer and 33 retailer members of the outdoor industry. The survey was conducted as part of BGI's Action Learning Project with Egan and Associates, LLC. The Action Learning Projects involve a team of MBA candidates providing a year-long consultancy with businesses with an interest in making headway on social and environmental sustainability issues. Data was collected in early 2007 though SurveyMonkey, an online survey instrument.

Highlights from the study include:

• A “substantial majority” of manufacturers and retailers surveyed consider environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to be “very important issues for themselves and their customers.”

• 75-percent of manufacturers perceive that environmental issues are of importance to their customers.

• The majority (76-percent) currently have some kind of commitment to or initiatives in support of sustainability and/or CSR. These range from the use of eco-friendly materials in their products, dedicated staff working on sustainability issues, and environmental footprint benchmarking.

Additionally, the survey indicated that nearly all respondents (92.9-percent) share a desire for greater industry collaboration to make better headway on sustainability and CSR initiatives.

“This survey demonstrates that the Outdoor Industry is savvy to the fact that the world is changing. The American public is fast becoming concerned about the social and environmental impacts associated with the products they buy and forward thinking business leaders will be the first to capitalize on the opportunity,” says Paul Horton, a member of the BGI student team and Executive Director of the non-profit Climate Solutions.

“Across the industry, more and more manufacturers and retailers are beginning to tackle the growing number of contemporary environmental and social problems associated with doing business in America,” said Dave Egan, Principle and Owner of Egan & Associates, LLC. “Approaches vary from making charitable donations to non-profit organizations working to protect natural places, to using natural fabrics such as hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton, to purchasing all of their power from renewable energy sources.”

Sustainability promises to be a hot topic at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007. BGI and Egan & Associates, LLC hope that by providing this information to the outdoor industry, continued action can be taken by companies hoping to build sustainable business initiatives. For more information, please contact bgi.alp@gmail.com.

About Bainbridge Graduate Institute
BGI offers the pioneering MBA in Sustainable Business and certificates in Sustainable Business and in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship. The programs prepare a diverse group of leaders to build enterprises that are economically successful, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. The MBA curriculum preserves the rigor of a traditional program, while infusing sustainability—including both environmental and social responsibility—throughout every course. It combines distance learning with monthly, intensive, face-to-face classroom sessions. Students build a strong, cooperative learning community with each other, the faculty and staff. And the program attracts distinguished business-school professors and business innovators from around U.S. and Canada.

About the BGI student team
The team consisted of four mid career professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. They are Debbie Dickerson: IT project manager for New Mexico's Department of Health, Steve Jansen: Marketing Coordinator for Teton Science Schools, Paul Horton: Executive Director of Climate Solutions. Indigo Teiwes: Senior Sustainability Research Analyst at Portfolio 21.

About Egan & Associates, LLC
Egan & Associates, LLC is a seven person independent manufacturer's representative agency which has been based in the Pacific Northwest for over 16 years. The agency currently represents Atlas Snow-Shoe Company, Chaco Footwear, Gregory Mountain Products, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Julbo Eyewear, Teko Socks, and Ulu Boots. As a diverse and experienced group of outdoor professionals, the Egan team is committed to building relationships and fostering dialog that can make a positive difference within the outdoor community and the environment which supports it.

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