5 outdoor organizations and non-profits you brand can support today

Martina Russo, CEO & founder

10 February 2022
Sustainability in sports is a hot topic – and rightly so. While the action sports industry is booming, there’s something lurking beneath the surface: the impact our favorite sports have on the environment.

Many sustainable outdoor brands – like Patagonia and Picture Organic Clothing – are giving back to the environment in a big way, but there’s still more we could all be doing. That’s where non-profits come in. By leveraging their global networks, several outdoor organizations are making waves in the industry by using their platforms to change the planet for good.

But which ones should you or your business be supporting? We’ve got the lowdown on why you should consider giving back to these 5 outdoor non-profits.

5 outdoor organizations you can support 

If you’re looking to have a more positive impact on the wild places you love, these non-profit outdoor organizations can help you navigate the rocky road to sustainability.


1. Protect Our Winters   

Outdoor businesses have the power to influence change, but knowing how to take action can be daunting.

Launched in 2007 by snowboarder Jeremy Jones, Protect Our Winters (or POW, for short) helps passionate outdoor people have a meaningful impact by providing education, tools, and resources on reducing their carbon footprint.

POW can see climate breakdown happening in our playgrounds and uses its platform to help outdoor communities protect the places we love today and for future generations. Alongside the global US organization set up by JJ, there are several chapters that operate across the world. This means that no matter what part of the planet you’re in, you can take action through your local chapter for maximum impact. Some of the world’s biggest outdoor brands have already gotten involved, including The North Face, Strava, Burton, Skullcandy and Salomon. 

 There are 5 ways outdoor brands can take climate action through Protect Our Winters:

  1. Become a POW partner and receive all the support you need on your low-carbon journey.
  2. Take the POW pledge to become a more sustainable business.
  3. Educate your employees on the science behind climate change through POW’s Carbon Literacy Training course.
  4. Make a one-off donation to help support POW’s cause.
  5. Support POW’s campaigns by taking part directly and amplifying the message through your customers and community.

Protect Our Winters receives no government funding and relies on support from the outdoor community to carry out its mission.

Our CEO Martina is a co-founder of Protect Our Winters Italy. We know that winter and environmental protection is as important to our clients as it is to us as a company and individually as winter sports lovers. That’s why every winter, we make a donation to one or more local environmental associations, such as several POW local chapters, as a token of appreciation.


2. Surfrider


The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network, allowing all people to enjoy them.

Surfrider fights to: 

  •   Reduce plastic and the impact it has on our oceans
  •   Protect our oceans from threats to the ecosystem
  •   Ensure full and fair beach access for everyone to enjoy
  •   Tackle issues that threaten the world’s beaches and shorelines
  •   Protect local water supplies and prevent pollution from reaching our oceans

Outdoor brands can get involved by volunteering, donating to support its network of coastal defenders, or urging local officials to take action.

You can also become a member of the Surfrider Foundation. Depending on which membership option you choose, you’ll receive a range of benefits – like discounts to the store or an exclusive t-shirt. 



3. Free to Run

Free to Run uses sports to create a positive impact in the lives of adolescent girls and young women who identify as ethnic minorities living in areas of conflict.

Working closely with communities and individuals, Free to Run provides deep, progressive leadership and wellbeing programs in conjunction with running experiences. The aim is to create a meaningful shift in gender equality while giving women and girls access to public spaces and leadership opportunities.

 If you enjoy being active, you can get involved by participating in major races and iconic running events in exchange for a fundraising commitment. You can also volunteer or join in with the conversation on social media. 

There’s space for outdoor brands to do good, too. By raising awareness of the organization’s fundraising efforts, outdoor communities have the opportunity to change lives for the better.


4. 1% for the Planet

If there’s one global movement you’ve heard of, it’s probably 1% for the Planet. Shockingly, only 3% of total philanthropic giving goes to environmental causes. 1% for the Planet is on a mission to change that. By bringing together individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations, the organization’s network is able to tackle the planet’s most pressing issues, driving positive change for future generations.

Joining in is simple: outdoor businesses can earn a 1% for the Planet certification by donating at least 1% of annual sales to environmental causes. There’s no expensive middleman – the money goes directly to approved environmental partners. You can also raise money by setting up an online fundraiser.

 With over $435 million given back to environmental non-profits from 3,419 members in over 64 countries worldwide, the movement’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.


5. European Outdoor Conservation Association


The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) is a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry that have come together to raise funds to put directly into conservation projects worldwide (except the USA and Canada). 

Since June 2006, the not-for-profit organization has supported 172 projects to the tune of over €5 million. Every new member that joins means more money for more projects, enabling the organization to give back to the environment and educate everyone who uses the outdoors as their playground.

The Action Sports Translator is proud to be a full member of the EOCA alongside major industry players, like Patagonia and The North Face. As 100% of the fees paid to the EOCA by its members get put into the projects they support, we get to vote for and propose projects we believe in. And by joining forces with other outdoor organizations and non-profits, we can make a bigger, more positive impact on the planet together.

When it comes to sustainability in sports, the time is now. We can’t undo the damage that’s already been done, but we can take steps to enjoy our chosen sports in a more sustainable way. Read our blog post to find out how sustainable outdoor brands are giving back



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Martina is the CEO and founder at The Action Sports Translator. After starting her career in marketing translation in 2010, she has been recognized as a Localization industry influencer multiple years in a row and has been working with some of the world's most exciting brands to bring multilingual marketing campaigns to life.

Co-founder and localization manager at Protect Our Winters Italy, she founded The Action Sports Translator to provide outdoor brands with a sports translation service that truly gets them. When she isn’t working, you can usually find her climbing a mountain or snowboarding down the other side.

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