The bosses of some of the biggest brands in cycling – including Brompton Bicycle’s Will Butler-Adams, Simon Mottram of Rapha and Specialized’s Mike Sinyard – have joined with CEOs of a number of other firms in the sector to call on industry colleagues to take action on climate change.
The trio are among 15 CEOs to have signed the Shift Cycling Culture pledge, with other companies represented including Assos, BMC Switzerland, Selle Royal and Vittoria, as well as Pon Holdings, whose forthcoming takeover of Dorel Sports Group will create the world’s biggest bike manufacturer by turnover.
In an open letter, they say that “As a group of business leaders from across the cycling industry, we have become acutely aware that climate change is not only a future risk, but a current one, which is accelerating before our eyes,” and acknowledge the role cycling plays in decarbonisation and creating cities that are better places to live by helping reduce motor traffic.
But they add that “The way in which we in the cycling industry make and sell products is also contributing to the problem,” and needs to change, with efforts to do so required across the entire industry.
They were brought together by the non-profit movement Shift Cycling Culture “in a leadership forum to discuss our business’ roles in tackling climate change,” and say that “during this process we have woken up to the fact that it is not just our business we need to change and that in order to contribute to the UN global goals on Climate Change, we will need to speed up our efforts collectively as an industry.”
After outlining the pledges to reduce greenhouse gases that 195 countries signed up to in the 2015 UN Paris Agreement to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius, they said: “To reach this target also in the cycling industry, we need the entire supply chain to be involved.
“The biggest part of the environmental impact of our products arises from production; 50-80 per cent of the carbon emissions take place when we extract, source and produce materials and parts.
“We operate in a linear economy that doesn't place value on the recirculation of materials, and too often, our customers are left with incompatible and redundant parts and products” – something that will chime with any cyclist who has a drawer, box or even garage full of bike-related bits and pieces.
The CEOs say that the industry will only be able to meet the Paris Agreement targets “if we innovate together to reduce emissions related to production, create products that will last longer, work with customers on maintenance and lifetime extension, and develop a closed loop system to recover materials.”
Two major commitments to help the industry make its contribution to help meet the Paris Agreement targets are outlined in the letter:
1 – Report: We will disclose our own company’s carbon impacts by measuring our Scope 1 & 2 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, in accordance with the GHG Protocol, by 2023 (latest) and will continue to do so on an annual basis
2 – Reduce: We will disclose our plans to reduce our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
“We recognise that these are just the initial steps of a long journey, and that many of us in our industry have already begun to take them,” the CEOs add in their letter.
“However, we believe these initial steps are essential and urgent for us all, and that if every company within the cycling industry takes them, then the cumulative impact would be enormous.”
Concluding with an invitation for the heads of other firms in the industry to join them by signing up to Shift Cycling Culture’s Climate Commitment, they say: “This letter is a call to action for ourselves and for you as our colleagues.
“We invite you to join us on this journey and commit to transformative change in our industry.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.