The World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) introduced a plan last week prioritizing the organization’s highest focus on the historical rate of physical inactivity.

WFSGA said that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “more than 80 percent of adolescents and 28 percent of adults fail to meet its recommended physical activity levels.” At the core of its new strategic plan, the WFSGI reported it would work with the WHO to implement its “historic partnership and develop initiatives promoting physical activity.”

“The most recent physical inactivity figures are staggering,” said WFSGI Interim CEO Emma Zwiebler. “The WFSGI is committed to taking on the challenge of fostering a more physically active lifestyle.”

Data presented by the WHO at ISPO last week showed that “insufficient physical activity is the fourth leading risk factor for death.” The organization reported that if there is no action to reduce current inactivity levels, “there will be 500 million additional cases of poor health caused by inactivity at a cost of USD 300 billion to global health care systems by 2030.”

Speaking about the plan, Zwiebler added, “We are convinced that the partnership with the WHO can demonstrate that private sector collaborations can drive meaningful change for society and business. The risk of inaction is too high. We are reaching tipping points on many global issues—especially in terms of climate and health—and the sporting goods industry is committed to playing a role in finding solutions.”

“Progress toward implementing the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) by countries is ‘slow and uneven’ and much more needs to be done,” she said.

Speaking about how the WFSGI is seeking to tackle these issues, Zwiebler commented: “To ensure our industry is on track and behind a common agenda, we’re setting out a bold new 3-year vision that calls for greater public-private and cross-industry collaboration to take on the toughest challenges. We are using the occasion of ISPO and our General Assembly to accelerate a conversation on priority areas.”

The key priorities of the WFSGI strategic plan include enabling sustainable business, influencing activity (from playground to podium), facilitating and promoting free and fair trade and supporting transition in a changing world.

The WFSGI made the announcement timed with four new board member appointments: 

  • Americas Region: Mehri Shadman, chief legal officer and corporate secretary at Under Armour;
  • Celine del Genes, global chief customer officer at Decathlon;
  • Michael Hauge Sorensen, Group COO at Amer Sports Corporation, and
  • Param Singh, founder, owner and CEO of Arklyz AG.

Celine del Genes, Michael Hauge Sorensen and Param Singh

are also Executive Committee members.

According to Andy Rubin, deputy chair of Pentland Group and chair of the Board of the WFSGI, “At the conclusion of my first year as chair of WFSGI, I’m delighted that we have been able to finalise our new Strategic Plan to 2025 and welcome a diverse set of industry leaders to the Board. We already have several significant achievements behind us in 2023, but we now move into the critical implementation phase of the Plan in 2024. We look forward to reporting next year on how we have united and supported the industry to ensure a healthier, more active planet for all.”