OUTO Is Building A Bigger More Inclusive Outdoors With Major Industry Backing

In a rare example of industry unity, The North Face, Patagonia, Arc´teryx, Adidas Terrex, Vivobarefoot, Salomon, Osprey and Wiggle all united at Kendal Mountain Festival to officially launch OUTO, a non profit foundation co-created with creative innovation consultancy We Are Pi to increase inclusion and anti-racism in the outdoors across the UK and Europe.

December 2023, OUTO (Opening Up The Outdoors) launches ‘The Great Outdoors Is Only Great If It Includes All of Us’. The launch campaign and outdoor industry event series created by We Are Pi is driving inclusion in an industry that's been guilty of celebrating a narrow view of greatness, white male conquering mountains.

“Never give up fighting for the bigger picture. The outdoors belongs to no-one, it belongs to everyone. Through learning, contemplating, and moving forward, OUTO aims to free outdoor spaces from unwritten rules and exclusive standards, striving for a world where dress codes and exclusivity have no place.”

Amanda Calder McClaren, OUTO Chairperson and Marketing Director at The North Face

Foundation Opening Up The Outdoors (OUTO) kick-started a new phase in its work to promote diversity and inclusion in outdoor spaces during this year’s Kendal Mountain Festival (KMF). At the world’s biggest annual celebration of mountain culture last weekend, OUTO and its founding members led or contributed to a series of events that publicly showcased and strengthened the outdoor industry’s commitment to anti-racism, and to equity.

"Opening Up the Outdoors, a collective of outdoor brands and experts...mission to promote inclusivity."

The Guardian 

Founded in 2021, OUTO is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in outdoor spaces, and is part of the wider It’s Great Out There Coalition. OUTO’s vision is to achieve a diverse, equitable, and accessible outdoor community. Beyond rhetoric, OUTO and its expanding list of members, allies, and changemakers take concrete actions to ensure that people of colour feel welcome outdoors. OUTO collaborates with industry and community leaders to dismantle barriers, providing support and education for a more inclusive outdoor world. To support its work, the organisation developed a dedicated OUTO Changemakers course in collaboration with Hatch. The class of 2022/2023 saw seven changemakers graduate, with 18 currently enrolled from the classes of 2023/2024.


During the 2023 Kendal Mountain Festival, OUTO founding members The North Face, Patagonia,  Arc´teryx, adidas Terrex and Vivobarefoot, along with other member brands Salomon, Osprey and Wiggle, delivered a schedule of events to highlight their reinforced commitment to cultivating inclusivity and diversity in outdoor spaces.


Allyship in the Outdoors course

At KMF, OUTO founding member The North Face launched Allyship in the Outdoors, a new, free, one-hour online course, that has been created in collaboration with partners across the industry and those operating in the diversity field. The course aims to help individuals who are working and playing in the outdoors to better understand the struggles faced by people of colour, and create a more welcoming outdoor environment. OUTO has been closely involved in the development of the course, and it was introduced at KMF by The North Face's Amanda Calder-Mclaren (who is also chairperson of OUTO), who led a discussion about why it is so necessary, involving ultra trail runner Zukie Tandathu, Team GB climber Molly Thompson-Smith, and OUTO co-founder Phil Young. The course is available for anyone to take and can be accessed at https://allyship.openinguptheoutdoors.com


‘Belonging’ in outdoor spaces panel discussion

OUTO had a prominent presence in the KMF Basecamp, which was the main hub of activity over the weekend, and free to enter for all visitors. In a thought-provoking panel discussion themed ‘Belonging’ on a Basecamp stage, speakers Soraya Abdel Hadi (founder of All The Elements CIC and an OUTO Changemaker), Katherine O'Brien (equity, diversity and inclusion strategic lead at Outward Bound), and Amanda Calder-Mclaren (senior brand marketing director at The North Face and chairperson of OUTO), shed light on the challenges of belonging in outdoor settings. They shared insights into the difficulties faced by underrepresented communities in experiencing a genuine sense of belonging in nature. OUTO and its members, through their collaborative partnership, are seeking and applying solutions for a more inclusive and diverse outdoor community. The panel discussion provided an opportunity to explore measures and approaches that need to be taken to establish an environment where everyone feels welcome.


OUTO representatives also contributed to other sessions on the stages in KMF Basecamp and the organisation had a stand there during the Saturday, the busiest day of the festival. Along with OUTO’s core team and several Changemakers, Margo de Lange, secretary general of the It’s Great Out There Coalition (IGOT), was present to meet visitors and industry colleagues. IGOT is the umbrella organisation that leads the pan-European #itsgreatoutthere campaign to promote outdoor participation, with a strong focus on encouraging less well represented communities to get more active in nature. IGOT and OUTO share resources and a secretariat, coordinating the work of the outdoor sector to improve diversity and inclusion.


OUTO continues to seek new members from within the outdoor sector. Organisations can apply to join at https://openinguptheoutdoors.com/sign-up.


Credits

Client: OUTO (Opening Up The Outdoors)

Agency: We Are Pi

Supporting brands: The North Face, Patagonia, Arc´teryx, Adidas Terrex, Vivobarefoot, Salomon, Osprey and Wiggle

Ends


For more info on OUTO contact:

Annette Monheim

Email: Annette.Monheim@Openinguptheoutdoors.com

Phone: +32 465430217


Opening Up The Outdoors

Avenue des Arts 43

B-1040 Bruxelles

Belgique

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About WE ARE Pi

We Are Pi is an award winning Creative Innovation Consultancy that partners with clients to build brands worthy of thriving in changing times by initiating transformation programs. We Are Pi Client partners include Amazon, Nike, IDFA, Heineken, Intersport, Pepsico and Patagonia. We Are Pi was named Small Agency of the Year 2018, 2019 and 2020 by Creative Pool and Ad Age.

We Are Pi cultural research platform, New Society Rules, helps brands navigate cultural change. We Are Pi content arm, Pi Studios, produces ground breaking stories about cultural change. We Are Pi is proud sponsor of Black Strat, Plus Plus One and Creative Jam Session.