Outdoor industry's Eco Index launches

Jamie Bainbridge of Nau, Eco Index

Jamie Bainbridge of Nau helped develop the Eco Index

The Outdoor Industry Association formally launched its Eco Index pilot program on Tuesday, the result of an effort led by several Oregon-based companies along with the Portland Development Commission and the Zero Waste Alliance.

The index will provide brands and retailers of outdoor gear a way to measure the environmental impact of their products — and communicate it to consumers.

The index has been in development since 2007 by the Outdoor Industry Association Eco Working Group, which includes representatives from Nau and Columbia Sportswear.

The review period for the index will stretch into early 2011 when feedback is incorporated and a formal version is launched. Over 80 companies are signed up to participate in the pilot program, with more slots available.

The project was facilitated by the Portland-based Zero Waste Alliance and funded in part by the Portland Development Commission.

Nike is working on a similar index, called the Considered Index.

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