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Outside Business Journal

How the outdoor industry is supporting Ukraine and its refugees

Brands and organizations have pledged their support through donations and other measures

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Bella Wilkes

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As the Russian invasion continues in Ukraine, outdoor businesses are answering calls for supplies, equipment, and monetary support. Here are a few of the ways our industry is helping.

KEEN donates funds

The footwear brand announced its commitment of $165,000 in cash and products to refugees arriving at border countries. Cash donations will be received by local organizations through GlobalGiving, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform. Local distributors MM Sport and Outdoor Concept will partner with KEEN to distribute donated footwear and other essentials. 

“In the face of a humanitarian crisis like the one unfolding in Ukraine, KEEN stands in solidarity with its people,” the company says. “Our thoughts are with the people and families whose lives are affected by the crisis in Ukraine.” 

Outside matches donations

Our parent company’s CEO, Robin Thurston, sent an internal email last week inviting all 600+ Outside employees to join him in donating to the United Nations Ukraine fund, which provides humanitarian assistance to the increasing number of refugees and war victims. Outside is matching every donation. “The generosity of our teammates has been incredible,” says Thurston.

Cotopaxi launches fundraising campaign

The Cotopaxi Foundation has partnered with the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps in a fundraising campaign running now through April 15. They plan to match up to $10,000 in consumer and employee donations.

Canada Goose restricts e-commerce

The apparel company has closed all wholesale and e-commerce sales to Russia and donated CA$100,000 to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Backcountry donates gear

The outdoor brand and e-tailer has partnered with local Red Cross organizers to send trucks carrying Backcountry sleeping bags, jackets, shirts, and more to the German border for incoming refugees. The company has also donated $10,000 to the nonprofit CARE, which is helping refugees with emergency assistance.

Helly Hansen suspends operations

The softgoods brand has temporarily suspended operations in Russia, including retail, e-commerce, and product shipment. The company has also committed $200,000 to the Red Cross and pledged another $500,000 to the aid of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Canada.

Fjällräven collects supplies

The Swedish outdoor equipment brand is working with sister company Naturkompaniet to collect and organize donation efforts. The company also has allocated reserve stocks of sleeping bags, jackets and backpacks in its European warehouses to provide additional supplies when needed.

Honey Stinger helps feed refugees

The sports nutrition brand is working to get its product to the Polish border to help feed incoming refugees.

Sawyer helps with clean water

The manufacturer of water filtration and insect repellent products has donated 30,000 water filtration systems to multiple organizations currently administering aid to Ukrainian refugees. 

The North Face suspends activity in Russia

“We are deeply saddened to watch this historic crisis unfold in Ukraine, and are working diligently in partnership with our parent company, VF Corporation, and our sister brands to provide aid,” The North Face says. “This includes $250,000 to the UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency dedicated to saving lives to help those displaced by the conflict, as well as donating The North Face products to Ukrainian refugees on the ground in Poland. Furthermore, as a result of the escalating crisis, we are temporarily suspending our commercial activities in Russia due to the disruptions in the region.”

Exxel Outdoors donates sleeping bags

In addition to suspending sales in Russia, the parent company of Kelty, Sierra Designs, and others has donated and airlifted a large quantity of sleeping bags to the area to help with relief efforts. “Humanitarian aid workers are distributing sleeping bags to provide some warmth and comfort to displaced Ukrainians who are in makeshift evacuation centers, or volunteers who are helping evacuate endangered Ukrainians to safer locales,” the company said in a statement.

LifeStraw donates water filters

LifeStraw has shipped donations of water filters to four separate grassroots organizations working in both Poland and Ukraine to cover over 6,000 people with drinking-water needs. Products that have been donated are dependent on requests by the organization and range from individual filters to larger-scale purifiers.

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