Eighteen brands, retailers and organizations are the founding members of the newly formed IGOT Coalition. It stands for the It's Great Out There Coalition, a new non-profit organization formed by the European Outdoor Group to encourage people to be more active outdoor across Europe.
Chaired by Arne Arens, European director of The North Face, the IGOT Coalition is based in Brussels, as one of its objectives is to obtain funding from the European Commission to help promote outdoor activities. There are positive indications that it may get it through the Erasmus program or the Structural Fund of the European Union, as European authorities have begun to recognize the fact that they should do something to change a situation in which two-thirds of the population are inactive and the younger generations are spending more time on computers and smartphones rather than practicing sports and enjoying nature.
The EOG hopes to involve also pharmaceutical companies, automotive brands and all kinds of other partners as sponsor of its programs. The funds collected from members, sponsors and public authorities will be used to conduct promotional campaigns and to finance outdoor clubs and grassroots activities all over Europe.
In addition to that, the members of the new coalition will use a revamped version of the “It's Great Out There” website to post a maximum of grassroots-oriented events that they are organizing all over Europe to maximize participation by the general public in their activities. For the moment, only TNF and Marmot Mountain have placed some of them on this internet portal, which is linked with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
The coalition is being built up on the success of the # It's Great Out There campaign launched by the EOG on the social media in 2015. It played a key role in the #Be Active campaign and the European Week of Sport (EWOS) launched by the European Commission in the same year. In the last year alone, the campaign reached some 20 million consumers and began to involve some of them in specific outdoor events.
The EOG will continue to work with the European Commission on the EWOS and other initiatives. As it has been officially listed in its Transparency Register, it is now entitled to directly request meetings with policymakers in Brussels.
In some ways, the IGOT coalition is expected to replicate the success that the EOG has achieved with the European Outdoor Conservation Association (Eoca), which has collected so far some €2 million in funds for environmental protection projects around the world.
The coalition's lobbying efforts are also inspired by the success of the Britain on Foot program launched by Andrew Denton in 2012 as head of the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) in the U.K. It has led the British government to allocate considerable funding for projects in the area of outdoor recreation through its specialized agency, Sport England.
Ispo and two national trade associations – the German sporting goods industry federation (BSI) and the OIA of the U.K. - are among the founding members of the IGOT Coalition. The others are five retailers - A.S. Adventure, McTrek and Schuster, Intersport and Sport 2000 – and the following brands: The North Face, Columbia, Jack Wolfskin, Keen, Mammut, Marmot Mountain, Merrell, Reima, Salomon and Ternua.
A few others have indicated their intention to join as founding members prior to a deadline set for Feb. 28, but are still going through the budget approval process. Founding members pay €5,000 for the privilege. Twelve of them had already signed up by the time the coalition was announced at the Ispo show in Munich last month. Others have signed up as regular members for a fee of €1,000. Anybody else, including big names like Coca Cola, for example, are welcome to join in the next days or at a later stage.