Outdoor industry CEOs and executives will gather in Telluride, CO on Thursday, May 24 for the Inaugural Outdoor Industry Climate Leadership Summit. The event precedes Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, themed as “The New Normal,” engaging in the work to actively battle climate change.

The idea for an outdoor industry leadership summit was conceived and will be presented by Telluride Mountainfilm, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Protect Our Winters (POW). These organizations recognize that large-scale bipartisan policy action is crucial in the fight to prevent dangerous warming. The outdoor industry business voice will be critical in this endeavor.

“We are at the 11th hour for meaningful action on climate change,” said Chris Steinkamp, executive director for POW. “Now, more than ever, it is critical for businesses — specifically CEOs — to use their leverage as economic drivers and social influencers to create the political will that is desperately needed to pass progressive climate policies.”

Participants will hear from experts in the areas of science, business and policy. Presenters include John Holdren, former science advisor to President Obama; Chris Miller, Ben and Jerry’s social mission activism manager; and Jon Goldin-Dubois, Western Resources Advocates president. Through education and interactive discussion, specific policy-related action will be identified to address the challenges at hand.

“When Mountainfilm decided to focus on climate change this year, we wanted to do more than just program films and speakers on the subject,” said David Holbrooke, Mountainfilm festival director. “We wanted to be impactful and thought one of the best ways to do this was to bring together leaders from the outdoor industry into the same room with experts coming to Telluride for the festival. Our hope is that this galvanizes the industry to do even more on the most challenging issue facing us.”

The Summit will culminate with a forum discussing the outdoor industry’s call to action, including a signed commitment statement and actions to influence climate policy. Leaders will work to form a “CEO Alliance” which aims to unite outdoor industry leaders with an effective platform to be powerful advocates for large-scale, meaningful policy solutions to climate change. This alliance will give outdoor industry leaders the tools needed to engage in public and operational action that recognizes and addresses the impact of climate change on our industry and the impact of our industry on the climate.

The outdoor industry generates $887 billion and employs 7.6 million people and will soon be officially counted as part of the U.S. gross domestic product.

“The outdoor industry promotes international trade and public lands policies that support the outdoor industry and foster the growth of the outdoor recreation industry,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director. “Additionally, we’ve made significant strides in addressing our industry’s impact on the climate through collaborative and sustainable supply chain management. This event provides a great opportunity to act on applying greater emphasis on climate change to our agenda because of the threat it poses to our business and, in turn, a significant part of our nation’s economy.”

Following the event, industry executives and presenters will gather for a VIP cocktail hour at the New Sheridan Hotel, 231 West Colorado Avenue in Telluride. This event is open to the media, and attendees will be prepared to share outcomes from the event. Telluride Mountainfilm, Outdoor Industry Association and Protect Our Winters recognize that this collaboration is a first step in generating real policy action on climate change and look forward to continuing urgent action beyond the Summit.

Photo courtesy Mountainfilm