The outdoors vs. Trump
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
President Trump's latest headache comes from outdoor brands increasingly radicalized by climate change and his stewardship of public lands.
Driving the news: Trade groups representing hundreds of outdoor companies announced a new effort this week to push for policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and explore renewable energy.
- During the government shutdown, Columbia took out full page ads to urge the government to reopen to aid public parks.
- Just last year, Patagonia said the company would donate $10 million to non-profit groups that work on climate and environment issues.
- The companies also banded together to protest Trump's plan to make big cuts to the size of two national monuments in Utah in 2017.
Why it matters: The big outdoor brands — including REI, Patagonia, Columbia and North Face — have monster social media presences and significant brand loyalty from affluent customers.
- “These national brands have a reach that nonprofit advocates could only dream of, and they have been using that megaphone in a really effective way to remind people of this issue,” Kayje Booker of the Montana Wilderness Association told the AP.
- “[W]hen President Trump was elected, some of the threats to our public lands became more high profile,” Outdoor Industry Association executive director Amy Roberts told the AP.
The big picture: More people in the U.S. want brands to take a stand on societal issues, especially on climate change.
- 51% of Americans want corporations to act to influence policy on climate change, according to a report from Morning Consult.
- But most consumers don't typically like when companies address issues pegged to Trump, even if many of his actions are what bring certain issues to the public debate.