Annecy lake and its surrounding
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European Outdoor Forum at Imperial palace
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Imperial palace - Conference venue
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ISPO dinner cruising the lake on the floating restaurant MS Libellule
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European Outdoor Forum, Group photo after the first day conference
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Networking lunch in front of the lake
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Forum 2012 Dates

So as not to miss one of the outdoor industry's key events, be sure to mark October 16th & 17th, 2012 on your calendars. This third edition of the European Outdoor Forum will once again bring together the outdoor industry's key players for two days of conferences on a wide variety of topics, with Annecy's beautiful surroundings as a backdrop.

As you probably know, this Business event is the perfect opportunity to learn, share and network in a sustainable way, so save the date!

To receive information on the program as its released please subscribe to our newsletter.

We look forward to seeing you in Annecy in 2012.

The outdoor industry flies its flags 

The second edition of the European Outdoor Forum, the flagship conference for the European outdoor industry, was held in Annecy, France, on October 11th & 12th, 2011. The event brought together over 230 key players from all over Europe to discuss the market and its issues in a relaxed environment, providing information to help participants make better decisions, while shaping the future of the outdoor industry. This year’s topics ranged from European, North American and Chinese market trends, social media, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, intellectual property, supply chains and the youth market, to a global retail panel. The true international flavor of the event was enhanced with the inclusion of speakers not only from across Europe, but also from North America and China.

Additionally, the SGI-Europe-The Compass and aWorkbook lunches and the ISPO dinner provided plenty of time for networking and catching up with industry friends.

The opening day started with an introduction by David Udberg, President of the European Outdoor Group, and Jean Luc Diard, President of Outdoor Sports Valley, who both wished the delegates an enjoyable and valuable few days.

First up on the podium was Roger Zeng, President and founder of China Outdoor Retailer Association (CORA), the first of three speakers who provided insight into the key trends in the major global outdoor markets. He gave us an insightful overview of the Chinese outdoor market and the top 10 key trends for outdoor brands to consider when doing business there.  This was followed by two presentations on how to Improve Social Compliance Programs in the outdoor industry. The first was by Edwin Koster, European Representative of Social Accountability International and the second by Julia Hawkins, of Ethical Trading Initiative. Both looked at the same issue but from a different perspective and highlighted the fact that this is as much of an issue in Europe as it is the Third World. Then it was time for the lunch break and a short walk across to the Moon Restaurant on the edge of Lake Annecy for the SGI Europe - the Compass Lunch.

After the break Douglas Kent of the Supply Chain Council explained to us on how to plan risk reduction into your Supply Chain; he created a very clear picture of a complex subject and succeeded in captivating everyone’s attention. Next up was gossip, celebrities and the art of seduction, an entertaining insight into how to get your social media to work for you, presented by Walter Naeslund, CEO of Honesty, from Stockholm, Sweden. Next up was a “high” quality presentation on the new innovative Refuge du Gouter mountain hut, currently under construction at 3835 m, which will be open for the 2012 mountaineering season.

The day was wrapped up with presentation of the forum gift by Jacques Fath, Director of 1% for the Planet in France and Benjamin Marias, OSV’s head of sustainability. This year’s gift sponsored by Sympatex was a downloadable CD of songs from 1% for the Planet, with all proceeds going to the charity.

Later that evening the ISPO forum dinner held onboard the MS Libelulle, which cruised around Lake Annecy until midnight. Attended by over 160 members of the industry, the dinner was followed by a fascinating speech by Heiner Oberrauch, Oberalp/Salewa Group president who read his notes using a Petzl head lamp that was presented to him by Paul Petzl, last year’s dinner speaker.

The following morning started with Mark Held, Secretary General European Outdoor Group presenting the second of the regional market trend report, this time on Europe, using a combination of headline figures from the new state of the Industry research results and his personal interpretation of what was driving these figures. After coffee the eagerly awaited panel debate on the future of retail started. Moderated by Eugenio Di Maria, Founder and Ceo EDM Publications, this international panel consisting of Zhang Heng, Founder & Ceo Sanfo (China) Frederic Hufkens, CEO of A.S. Adventure Group (Europe), Thomas Lipke, Managing Director Globetrotter (Europe) and Jeff Crook Senior Manager of Buying and Design at Mountain Equipment Co-op (North America) had a look at the state of the market for retailers in different parts of the world and how they are moving forward in the current complex market environment.

The morning session finished with a break for the aWorkbook lunch that, as with the lunch the day before, provided a lovely sunny break and gave everyone the opportunity to discuss the morning’s presentations.

After lunch Alex Striler, Management Consultant and author “X Play Nation” took us straight into a stimulating presentation on capturing today’s youth market by looking at how action sports had attracted the young consumer and how the marketing strategy and ethos of these types of brands can be adapted to encourage young consumers into traditional sports markets. Straight after Anne Laurent, General IP Counsel Europe for Amer Sports examined the growing challenges which brands are facing in Intellectual Property.
Last but not least was the third regional trend presentation, this one by Frank Hugelmeyer, President & CEO Outdoor Industry Association, on the North American market. During the presentation Frank made all the delegates stand up and be tested on his home market and interestingly it was the Zhang Heng of Sanfo who came out on top.

The event was closed by Remi Forsans, Executive Director of Outdoor Sports Valley, and Mark Held, Secretary General of the European Outdoor Group. The 230+ delegates left with many happy memories and much to contemplate.

Companies attending the 2011 forum included:
1% For The Planet, 8264.Com, Aku, Amer Sports, Arcteryx, As Adventure Group, Aspom, Assosport, Astrum Brands, Bailo, Camp, Cascade Designs, China Outdoor Retailer Association, Coalision, Coleman, Deuter, Diffusion, Eagle Creek, Edelrid, Eider, Escape Lane, Ethical Trading, Ferrino & C Spa, Fifas, Filiere Sport, Fjallraven, Genfoot, Globetrotter, Greensport, Hark Solutions, Honesty, Innovaski, Invista, Italian Outdoor Group, Jonathan & Fletcher, Julbo, Kamik, Katoen Natie, Keen Footwear, Klingheim Sowk, La Compagnie Du Bain, La Sportiva, The Lifestyle Company, Lowa, Lowe Alpine, Mammut, Marmot, Millet, Montagne TV, Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Nic-Impex, Nikwax, Editions Niveales, Nordica, Oberalp/Salewa Group, Odlo, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Experts, Outdoori, Outdoor Italia, Outdoor USA, Patagonia, Petzl, Picture Organic Clothing, Recco, Rossignol, Salomon, Sanfo, Savoie Hexapole, Scandinavian Outdoor Group, Scarpa, Scott, Sintef, Social Accountability International, Sport Guide, Sport Pulsion, Sports Recruitment, Supply Chain Council, Switch Consulting, Tatonka, Tecnica Group, The Lifestyle Company, The North Face, The OIA, Thermore, Timberland, TSL Outdoor, Vaude, Vibram, Viking Footwear, Vuarnet, Wl Gore, WWW Inc ...

This year, as with last year, the European Outdoor Forum provided the opportunity for the outdoor industry to learn, share and network. While waiting for the Forum video to come, relive the event through photos by clicking here.

Stay connected via this website, the newsletter or the Facebook Forum page to learn about the official dates of next year’s edition in Annecy.