We must work together: Industry leaders’ open letter on climate change

CyclingTips amongst signatories of an urgent appeal to the cycling industry to tackle climate change now.

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In the week in which world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26 the United Nations climate change conference, Shift Cycling Culture has published an open letter from CEOs of some of the cycling industry’s biggest companies with an urgent appeal for industry-wide collaborative acknowledgement and action in tackling climate change. In the letter to their colleagues in the cycling industry, the CEOs pledge to be transparent on their greenhouse gas emissions, issue an urgent appeal for companies to acknowledge the industry’s environmental impact and sign up to the group’s commitment to reduce emissions.

Shift Cycling Culture is a not-for-profit foundation aiming to bring the global cycling community together to support positive climate action and a more sustainable future for our sport. Earlier this year, Shift ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund its Cracked Earth cycling film depicting climate change’s impact on the places we ride.

Shift also facilitates bi-monthly meetings with CEOs from some of the biggest companies in the cycling industry to facilitate conversations and action on climate change. This new Climate Commitment initiative results from one of those bi-monthly meetings. It lists founders and CEOs from Assos, BMC, Brompton, Dorel Sports (Cannondale etc) Rapha, Schwalbe, Specialized, Riese & Muller, and CyclingTips as founding signatories on this “urgent appeal” to their partners and competitors across the industry. 

The letter highlights the immediate and growing risk climate change poses right now and the role cycling can play in decarbonising our world. However, the letter also acknowledges the cycling industry’s contribution to the climate crisis and the industry’s collective responsibility in reaching the global targets for reducing CO2 emissions set out by the 2015 UN Paris Agreement on climate change.

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.

Shift Cycling Culture CEOs letter to the cycling industry October 2021

The letter points to the production process as the most significant part of the industry’s environmental impact, with some 50-80% of the carbon emissions associated with a product resulting from the production of materials and parts. The letter also acknowledges some of the issues raised in recent episodes of the Nerd Alert podcast looking at the disposable bike economy and the right to repair bikes and parts calling on the industry to innovate together to: 

  • Reduce emissions related to production 
  • Create products that will last longer 
  • Work with customers on maintenance and lifetime extension 
  • Develop a closed-loop system to recover materials 

While it is positive to see these acknowledgements from such significant players in the cycling industry, seeing action is even better. The letter concludes with the CEO’s commitment to report their company’s carbon impacts in accordance with the GHG protocol by 2023 at the latest and their plans to reduce these emissions by at least 55% by 2030. There is also a recognition that this is “just a start” on a long journey and none of these companies is perfect, but by making these acknowledgements and working together the group hopes to achieve transformative change. The group invites others in the industry to join them on that journey by signing up at www.shiftcyclingculture.com

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