(SGI) Several companies in the sporting goods industry have been involved in various ways helping to save wildlife and fight the enormous bush fires that have already burned millions of hectares of land in Australia since early September.
Although the situation has now eased temporarily, thanks to some rainfall, these have been the worst fires on the continent since the mid-1970s. Ecologists from the University of Sydney estimate that half a billion birds, reptiles and mammals have been affected, and millions of helpless animals have already fallen victim to the fires. Certain species may even have been completely exterminated. So far, the fires have also claimed over two dozen human lives.
Along with an Australian retailer, Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski, the brands of the original Australian Boardriders Group – Billabong, Roxy, Quiksilver, DC Shoes, RVCA and Element – have all been collecting profits generated by e-commerce in Australia over the weekend of Jan. 11-12. The funds will provide aid to communities affected by the fires.
The big Australian Super Retail Group (SRG), which owns the Rebel Sport, BCF and Macpac retail banners, is donating 250,000 Australian dollars (€155,000-$171,000) to the Red Cross for the fires’ aftermath. SRG is also providing paid leave to the volunteer firefighters among its employees.
To help firefighters in New South Wales fight the fire, Keen is donating 10 percent of the revenue it generated on Jan. 14-21 from sales through its online store and brand stores. In addition, the brand is giving 3,000 pairs of work shoes, and Keen employees are sewing hundreds of special bags in their spare time to provide wildlife rescue organizations with bags for injured and displaced marsupials.
Merrell is donating $25,000 to Wires Wildlife Rescue, a major Australian conservation organization that will be working on post-fire rehabilitation. Wires is also accepting donations from the public online at www.wires.org.au/donate/online.
Another Australian surf brand, Rusty, put out a T-shirt to raise funds and inspire friends and customers to donate. One hundred percent of the profits from the sale of the made-to-order “Rusty x Bushfire Relief tee” for A$ 40 (€25-$27) will be donated, half to Wires, half to the Australian Red Cross.
The buy-now-pay-later service Afterpay, based in Melbourne, has pledged A$ 200,000 (€124,000-$137,000) to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund on behalf of its employees and set up a donation page for customers. The company has also contacted its more than 42,000 retail partners to encourage them to promote donations, which support emergency response efforts, volunteer training and more.
An Australian lifestyle apparel and homeware retail chain, Country Road, said that it donated A$ 100,000 (€62,000-$69,000) to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund and encouraged followers to support the cause.
On Jan. 9, several brands, some 45 retailers and 1,000 stores held a charity campaign in which all profits were pledged to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. Among the brands were eBay, Globe, Lacoste, Seafolly, Sea Level Swim, Speedo, Stüssy, The North Face and Ugg.
Even after the fires, the affected regions will still have to rely on donations to recover to some extent. We will continue to keep an eye on the developments.