Outdoor Apparel & Gear Industry

Dependencies on Ecosystem Services in the Outdoor Apparel and Gear Industry

One-click funding of nature-related Risks and Dependencies for the Outdoor Apparel industry can be done via BASIN FLOWS.

Sector Classification



Consumer Discretionary

Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods

NACE Rev. 2

Manufacturing; Wholesale/Retail

Transportation; Utilities & Waste


Consumer Goods

Apparel, Accessories & Footwear

Companies within the Outdoor Apparel and Gear Industry are intricately linked to the natural environment and have deep dependencies on ecosystem services.


The ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks, and Exposure) tool provides a detailed view of the direct environmental dependencies:

  • Direct Physical Input: The reliance on natural fibers & materials, sourced from various habitats and species, alongside essential resources like ground and surface water, is fundamental.

  • Enables Production Process: Water flow maintenance is critical, facilitated by the atmosphere, habitats, and water bodies. Water quality, directly impacted by different species and water ecosystems, is also crucial.

  • Mitigates Direct Impacts: Ecosystem services such as bioremediation, dilution, and filtration by habitats and species significantly reduce the industry's environmental footprint. The role of the atmosphere, ocean geomorphology, and water ecosystems in dilution processes is also key.

  • Protection from Disruption: Ecosystem services offer vital protection against natural disruptions, including habitat-based flood and storm protection and mass stabilization and erosion control through land geomorphology and soils.

Swiss Re Biodiversity Ecosystem Services Index

The Swiss Re BES Index further highlights critical dependencies across the industry's value chain:

  • Manufacturing: Essential services like pollination, air quality and local climate stabilization, water security, soil fertility, erosion control, and timber provision are vital for sustainable manufacturing.

  • Wholesale/Retail: The sustainability of products is enhanced by maintaining habitat intactness, in addition to the ecosystem services crucial for manufacturing.

  • Transportation and Storage: Efficient logistics and storage solutions depend on ecosystem services, such as air quality management, water security, and erosion control.

  • Utilities and Waste Management: Sustainable waste management practices are underpinned by similar dependencies on air quality, water security, and erosion control.

Applied to Core Benefits & Ecosystems

The Outdoor Apparel and Gear Industry, by its nature, interacts with a broad range of ecosystems, primarily through the sourcing of materials, the environmental impact of its manufacturing and supply chain processes, and the intended use of its products. However, its operations and the ecosystems it directly influences or relies upon can vary based on the materials sourced, the location of manufacturing facilities, and the focus of the product line. Below is an analysis of the ENCORE and Swiss RE dependencies aligned with the Core Benefits of Natural Capital and the BASIN Ecosystems the industry likely operates in or impacts:

Dependencies on the Core Benefits of Natural Capital

  • Clean Air: Matches with air quality and local climate dependencies.

  • Clean Water: Directly relates to water quality and water security.

  • Water Abundance: Aligns with water security and the maintenance of water flow.

  • Healthy Soils: Ties to soil fertility and erosion control.

  • Climate: Broadly relates to local climate stabilization through various ecosystem services.

  • Resilience: While not directly listed, resilience can be inferred from flood and storm protection, mass stabilization, and erosion control services.

  • Erosion Control: Directly mentioned in dependencies.

  • Biocontrol: While not directly listed, biocontrol could be related to bioremediation efforts.

  • Pollination: Directly mentioned in dependencies.

  • Habitat: Relates to habitat intactness and the sourcing of fibers & materials.

Dependencies on Ecosystems Operated In or Impacted

  • Cultivated & Developed: The industry sources materials that may come from these areas, especially for natural fibers.

  • Urban Open Space: Less directly involved but may impact through retail locations and urban consumer engagement.

  • Rural Open Space: Involved in the sourcing of materials and possibly in conservation efforts.

  • Rivers & Lakes: Water sourcing and impact on water quality place these ecosystems as relevant.

  • Inland Wetlands: Important for water filtration and biodiversity, which can affect material sourcing and environmental strategies.

  • Tropical Forest: Source of specific natural fibers and materials; also a focus for conservation efforts due to biodiversity.

  • Temperate Forest: Similar to tropical forests in terms of sourcing and conservation.

  • Boreal Forest: Less commonly interacted with but could be involved in material sourcing or conservation.

  • Coastal Systems: Impact through pollution and conservation efforts, especially related to ocean plastics.

  • Grasslands: Can be involved in material sourcing, especially for natural fibers.

  • Shrublands: Less directly involved but may be impacted by or benefit from conservation efforts.

  • Polar & Alpine: Directly relevant for product testing, use, and sometimes material sourcing (e.g., wool).

  • Desert: May influence through material sourcing (e.g., certain natural fibers) and product use.

  • Subterranean: Less directly involved, although mining for minerals (for technical gear) can impact these areas.

This industry’s footprint and reliance on ecosystem services underscore the importance of sustainable practices across all operational and impact levels. By understanding these dependencies and the ecosystems involved, the Outdoor Apparel and Gear Industry can better align its operations with environmental conservation and sustainability goals.

Source Notes

This analysis draws on public methodologies and data from ENCORE and Swiss Re, focusing on the direct potential dependencies and impacts of production processes on ecosystem services and natural capital assets. It underscores the Outdoor Apparel and Gear Industry's reliance on natural ecosystems, highlighting the importance of preserving these resources for resilience and adaptation.

Last updated