World Sports Forum at ISPO MUNICH

Munich – Germany, Feb 02, 2013: The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) draws a positive balance for 2012 at its General Assembly on February 2, 2013 and is confident for the future. In 2012, 15 new members have joined the World Federation, summing it up to a total of over 200 direct members.

Major activities in 2012 are the new approach of the WFSGI Pledge for the FIFA Quality Programme, the promotion of Physical Activity and Health, trade advocacy confronting protectionism and evaluating efforts at trade liberalization but also activities of the WFSGI Bicycle Committee related to UCI issues and the support during the Olympic Games in London. Last but not least the World Federation renewed and refreshed its corporate identity to have one consistent brand that reflects the variety of tasks and the vitality of the sports industry.

WFSGI Secretary General, Robbert de Kock, resumes: “Over the last years, the WFSGI has been growing steadily and is gaining further strength through new services and growing collaborative efforts. We thank our partners for the trust and active support and we are looking forward to the projects and opportunities ahead. It has become clear that the industry benefits when we are bonded in our industry actions.”

The new members that joined the WFSGI in 2012 are:

Alberta Sports (Pakistan)

Campagnolo (Italy)

Corima (France)

Dong Luc Group (Vietnam)

Enve Composites (USA)

KSPO – Korea Sports Promotion Foundation (Korea)

ISM Saddles – Tampa Bay Recreation LLC (USA)

Mavic (France)

Orbea S. Coop (Spain)

Reema Group (Pakistan)

Ritchey Design, Inc. (USA)

Schwalbe – Ralf Bohle GmbH (Germany)

Uhlsport GmbH (Germany)

Velocite Tech (Taiwan)

Founders of the WFSGI appointed Honorary Directors

The WFSGI honours personalities from the past for their outstanding performances, support and achievements towards the WFSGI and the Sporting Goods Industry in general. This year, the WFSGI awards the Honorary Director title to three gentlemen, of who two are the founders of today’s 35-years-old World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI):

Mr. Howard Bruns (USA), former Group Vice President of Victor and former President of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SFIA),

Mr. Henri Rossollin (France), former Chairman of the French Sporting Goods Federation, Vice President of FESI and founder and manager of Lacoste do Brazil

Mr. Peter Martin (Canada), former President of the Canadian Sporting Goods Industry, owner of KDI and former President of CSGA.

Late Armin Dassler (PUMA), who completed the founding visionary trio of the WSFGI with Rossollin and Bruns, was appointed as Honorary Director last year.

World Sports Forum by WFSGI

The World Sports Forum organized under the umbrella of the WFSGI held two plenary sessions on Sustainability – new challenges and Physical Inactivity. A short summary:

Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, ILO, spoke on how to “Collectively elaborate on the concept of fair wages” and presented concrete achievements. In the past few years, wage problems along the supply chain have highlighted a CSR deficit –notably on the methodological side – with regard to wage issues, despite the fact that concerns are increasing among all major actors. The global context also paints a rather worrying picture – with wage moderation, a decline in the labour share, increased inequality and low pay– that has further deteriorated with the financial and economic crisis. The Fair Wage approach was set up to respond to this deficit, to provide a solid methodology to better identify an enterprise’s performance in the wage area.

“Piloting the fair wage assessment” by Frank Henke, Global Director of Social& Environmental Affairs, adidas Group showed how during 2011 and 2012, 25 adidas Group suppliers in eight countries completed management self-assessment questionnaires and four factories received full Fair Wage Assessments, meaning worker surveys were conducted as well as the management self-assessments. The overall goal for the Fair Wage Pilots is to help individual suppliers, as well as the adidas Group, to identify the management practices required in Fair Wage dimensions.

“Improve compliance with labour standards and increase competiveness in global supply chain” was the topic of Susanne Harkonen, Better Work. Better Work is an innovative program between the International Labor Organization (ILO) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) that uses market incentives to help garment-sector stakeholders improve compliance with labour standards. Better Work stakeholders include governments, international companies, trade unions, academia etc. and its key objective are to improve working conditions and promote competitiveness in global supply chains.

Dai Forterre, responsible for the Sustainability and CSR Programme at Asics Europe, talked about “Sustainable 21st century manufacturing – challenges and opportunities”. A select number of countries have managed to become the principal sporting goods manufacturers of the world within a relatively short time-span. Reasons for their success are a combination of reliability, flexibility, quality, skills and scale, underpinned by integrated infrastructures and a consistent supply of cheap labour against the background of relative currency and social stability. However, it seems we are currently witnessing important breakthroughs in manufacturing technology and practices, which could radically alter the global manufacturing landscape. The central question is: How can important sourcing countries remain competitive within this changing manufacturing landscape in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner?

Douglas Bettcher, Director Director the Department for Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization (WHO), highlighted the relation between “Physical Activity and Public Health”. The WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It comprises of 194 Member States and is decentralized in structure. The overall objective of WHO is the “attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”.

Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) are the leading cause of death globally. A large percentage of NCDs are preventable through the reduction of their four main risk factors: physical inactivity, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, and unhealthy diet. The threat posed to the global economy by NCDs was recognized at the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases in 2011. The Political Declaration of the Meeting calls for a “whole-of-society approach to respond to the global epidemic of NCD and its socio-economic and developmental impacts”.

WHO has identified the promotion of physical activity as a cost-effective feasible and affordable “Best Buy” for NCD prevention. Along with emerging “good buys” for physical activity interventions in schools and worksites, by increasing opportunity for cycling and walking for transport, and by ensuring the built environment enables spaces for sport, recreation and play, we have an emerging set of tools to support countries in their efforts to achieve national and global targets on physical activity. The sporting goods industries are well placed to support global and national efforts to promote physical activity, sports and recreation.

Lisa MacCallum, Vice President of Access to Sport, NIKE, Inc., presented a solution to this growing physical inactivity epidemic with the Framework for Action, entitled “Designed to Move – A Physical Activity Action Agenda”. This work is the result of collaboration and research by 70+ expert organizations from around the world with a goal to unify action for a more active future. “Human beings are designed to move and be active. Our brain doesn’t work as well without our body moving. And yet, research shows us that, as economies develop, their populations’ levels of activity become dangerously low.” The human and economic costs of progress are staggering. Physical inactivity is a direct threat to health, cognitive function, mental well-being and quality of life. But most importantly, it results in an erosion of human potential and drains economies. We are the least active generation in history. Now, more than ever, it is time for urgent action.

Physical inactivity is a global health priority. “Getting the world moving: A global goal to reduce inactivity by 10% by 2015” was presented by Professor Fiona Bull, Director of the Centre for Built Environment and Health (CBEH), School of Population Health at The University of Western Australia and Chair of Global Advocacy for Physical Activity Council (GAPA) and President Elect of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH).

Recent estimates show one third of adults are not doing enough activity to prevent disease and gain the benefits of improved health and wellbeing. This presentation outlined why physical activity has been described as the ‘best buy in public health’ and how with the rising burden of chronic disease, increasing physical activity and sports participation is a common goal for the sports and health sectors. Advocacy efforts leading up to the 2011 United Nations High Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Disease in New York will be described as well as the resulting Political Declaration and global agenda for increased action and cross sector collaboration. Achieving the proposed global target of a 10% increase in activity will require greater implementation and scaling up of effective strategies. The best buys outlined in “NCD Prevention: Investments that Work for Physical Activity” were presented along with the opportunities for the collaboration needed.

Christophe Dubi, IOC Sports Director, presented “Sport for All”. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded more than a century ago to place sport at the service of humanity. In this third millennium, there is no longer any doubt that the IOC and the sports movement have a social responsibility, namely to enable the largest number of people possible to have access to the practice of sport, and to make this a key element of sustainable social and human well-being for individuals and society.

Moreover, one of the fundamental principles of Olympism in the Olympic Charter, states that “the practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport without discrimination of any kind”. And the role of the IOC is, also according to the Olympic Charter, “to encourage and support the development of sport for all”, which is done in many ways.

“New Balance and our Movement for Movement” was presented by Christine Madigan who currently heads up Responsible Leadership for New Balance Footwear and Apparel which includes Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Community initiatives.

Certain facts are not debated – as the world is getting faster, many people are getting slower. Stasis has replaced movement and we have enabled this through technology, indulgence and complacency. The physical benefits of movement and exercise are also clear. But, the rate of childhood obesity has steadily increased. “A few years ago we refreshed our internal rallying cry, our reason for being. After some soul searching we arrived at the core belief that people are meant to move and the role of New Balance Associates has always been to champion movement, and to ensure that our products serve the body in motion. We talked about the best coaches we worked with in our own lives, and how they knew when to push beyond what we even believed was possible, but also when to just encourage and support us in our goals. We challenged ourselves to act as a catalyst and a coach both inside the company, and with our external actions. We dreamed of inspiring people to move further, faster and more frequently. We pledged to move the world not only physically in our products, but also emotionally and intellectually with our programs and our actions.” —- WFSGI

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