EPA Public Administrator Gina McCarthy’s take on how our industry can affect the Climate Change discussion
Many companies within snowboarding have been taking the cue to promote sustainability, whether that’s through the products they are making, the process in which they are making them, or by speaking out to influence change. Patagonia, Mervin Manufacturing, C3 / CAPiTA, Burton, and the list goes on, have all been playing their part in this effort to protect our natural world, as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Public Administrator Gina McCarthy explains in our recent interview with her at the 2016 SIA Snow Show.
“You’ve got a big industry here that drives a lot of money into the economy and a lot of jobs,” says McCarthy. “It’s about recognizing that our core value is to maintain the outdoors, and maintain the natural world.”
Organizations like Protect Our Winters, alongside SIA, have been working with athletes, ambassadors, and companies to interject the snow sports industry’s voice into the conversation. According to McCarthy, this type of activism, along with “voting” with your wallet, and making eco-conscious choices in your day to day life, are all adding up to make a difference.
“EPA can speak to the science and we can challenge things from a regulatory perspective, but as we’ve talked casually, it’s all about moving a market,” McCarthy says. “It’s all about recognizing that climate change is about protecting the future of our kids…You represent the future of the buying public in the United States. You represent an ability to be able to challenge companies to produce products that are sustainable. You represent voices of the next level of voters that are coming up, in saying what they expect politicians to do.”
McCarthy argues that bi-partisan politics need to be removed from the discussion of protecting our future generations and the environment they will inhabit. She also acknowledges that companies need to be listening to youth and their preferences. That young demographic, Gen Z as many have defined them, identify “communicating a socially responsible message” as one of the top qualities in their favorite brands, according to Fuse Marketing’s research, which was presented at SIA’s 2016 Industry + Intelligence Day.
“All these companies reflect the fact that their customers— young people— are demanding it all and not just one thing. You aren’t going to go to a young person today and say, ‘do you mind if we give you a really cool product but it destroys the environment at the same time?’ They aren’t interested in that, they aren’t carving their life like that.”
McCarthy was appointed by President Obama in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Previously, she served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. During her 30-year career, McCarthy has worked at both the state and local levels to coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment. Watch our entire discussion with McCarthy here, and stay tuned for more videos from The Sessions @ SIA.