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Michel Gogniat: “As an industry we have a social responsibility”

Promoting a healthier, active lifestyle that's closer to nature is the motive behind the “It's great out there” initiative, which was born in the European Outdoor Group where brands like Ternua are involved in giving life to the project. Michel Gogniat, Europe-Asia Outdoor Sales Director, will be telling us more about the initiative.

Where does the project come from?

 

In 2015, the European Outdoor Group was analysing the suitability of using the summer professional fair that's held in a very beautiful place next to Lake Constanza as a way to open their doors to the public one day and have a big Outdoor party, but we came to the conclusion that it wasn't the right time and place for several reasons, among which was the fact that it would happen in one place every year and the impact would definitely be local.

 

Nevertheless, in these meetings it was clear that as an Outdoor industry, we needed to be more involved in promoting a healthier more active lifestyle that's close to nature. Basically, we know there are a lot of reports about the worrying trend towards people leading a sedentary lifestyle, in particular younger people, and this has dire consequences for society including lowered life-expectancy, worse performance at school, social difficulties and more.

 

Obviously, institutions are the ones that have to play the biggest role in these changes of habit. Nevertheless, we think that as an industry we also have a social responsibility and that one of our obligations is to do what we can to exercise influence and in that way make it so as a society we can have longer, better and healthier lives.

 

 

What role does Ternua play in this initiative?

 

As a representative of the Ternua Group, I participated in the first meetings about this idea and it seemed obvious to us that Ternua had to play an important role because of the values the brand projects and the personal convictions of people in the company.

 

Our role has been to set out the first steps to take, provide free products and content for social networks and the web site to launch the project and carry out a pilot project in June, 2016 to illustrate what we want to do in the context of all the other companies in the industry.

 

Lastly, in early 2017 we decided to create an NGO called the “It's Great Out There Coalition” based in Brussels whose role will be to provide organisational and economic assistance to people who have projects for promoting outdoor activities whether they're physical education teachers, teachers or anyone else. And also to be in a position to put pressure on European Institutions so they get involved in more significant ways.

Ternua is one of the 30 founding member companies of the NGO and I'm one of the 5 administrators leading the project.

 

What led you to participate in this project?

Our motivation is obvious from the nature of the project. In the same way that we're members of the EOCA, the industry's initiative to promote environmental protection that we're also administrators of, we think it's absolutely essential to do everything possible so people, young people and children in particular, can enjoy nature.

 

What activities have been planned?

Aside from the financial contributions that will go towards the first projects that the “It's Great Out There Coalition” will support, in the short term, for example, we're planning to organise an excursion from 8 to 12 May with a group of students from the Agora School in Madrid to the Bujaruelo refuge.

 

Obviously, this is just one of the projects we have. We're going to try to give several hundred children a year the opportunity to discover the benefits of being outdoors with friends.

 

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