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Launch of new tool to harmonise product data exchange in the outdoor industry

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) and the Bundesverband der Deutschen Sportartikel-Industrie (BSI) have launched the next phase of a major collaborative project that sets out to standardise and harmonise product sustainability data across the outdoor sector. The Sustainability Data Exchange Project aims to improve communication between brands and retailer and establish ways to reduce the multiple and diverse sustainability data requests that exist now. The EOG and BSI have developed a solution, in the form of a harmonised questionnaire, which will be publicly available from Thursday 20 July. The two organisations will host a free webinar on the same day to introduce the questionnaire.

The Sustainability Data Exchange Project (SDEX) addresses the problematic situation around the exchange of sustainability data at product level between brands and retailers. Currently, in most cases, extensive spreadsheets and questionnaires must be filled out for each product and for each trading partner. The process is very time-consuming for all parties involved, and involves significant and frequent duplication of work. Despite that work, there is no consistent alignment of product sustainability data, which is confusing for all parties involved, for regulators, and for consumers.

Through SDEX, the EOG and BSI have already mapped pre-existing retailer spreadsheets and questionnaires to identify common themes and questions. These were then consolidated into a single sustainability data exchange questionnaire that addresses the various points and topics. The questionnaire has gone through two beta testing rounds with 22 brands and retailers, to ensure that brands can fill this in, and that it contains all the information that retailers require.

The SDEX Questionnaire has now been finalised and is ready for rollout. It will go live online on Thursday 20 July at 4:00pm CEST. On the same day, the EOG and BSI will host a free webinar for industry colleagues to learn more about the SDEX project, offer guidance for completing the questionnaire, and start a discussion about the potential for a digital sustainability data exchange platform. Anyone with an interest in the subject is encouraged to attend.

Dr Katy Stevens, EOG head of CSR and sustainability, comments: “This is a crucial development in the outdoor industry’s work on sustainability. Up until now, there have been many excellent attempts to deliver good data about products’ sustainability attributes, but these have generally operated in isolation. So, although there is inevitably a lot of common ground, there is no sector wide consistency in data, which presents all sorts of problems, especially in an era of increasing regulations and consumer interest.

“The Sustainability Data Exchange Project will not only address some immediate issues, but it will also allow brands and retailers to prepare for the future with confidence, both when dealing with the latest regulations, and when communicating product sustainability credentials to consumers. To be truly successful on an industry wide scale, we need a critical mass of companies to get involved, so I urge outdoor brands and retailers to join us for the webinar and get fully engaged with SDEX.”

Maïté Angleys, Advisor Corporate Responsibility at BSI, adds: “The SDEX project is yet another example of the qualities of the sporting goods industry. It is remarkable what we can achieve through the collaborative mindset of the retailers and brands represented. As industry associations we are glad to facilitate a project like SDEX, which gives true added value to the entire sector.”

The register for the webinar at 4:00pm CEST on Thursday 20 July visit Microsoft Virtual Events Powered by Teams. For more information about SDEX, email katy.stevens@euroepanoutdoorgroup.com or maite.angleys@bsi-sport.de.

For more information about the EOG, visit www.europeanoutdoorgroup.com.