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Championing diversity in outdoor sports, The North Face offers free course on allyship

Outdoor brand The North Face has been working to increase diversity in outdoor sports for years. Aiming to help others in the industry — whether they work for a major retailer or run a local bouldering gym — do their part, the brand has launched a new course: Allyship in the Outdoors.

The digital course, which anyone can follow free of charge, takes around an hour to complete. It focuses on understanding the challenges people of color encounter in accessing the outdoors, how to level the playing field, and ways to make people feel safe and welcome.

Allyship in the Outdoors was developed with OUTO (Opening Up The Outdoors), a not-for-profit initiative that partners with brands and community leaders to provide POC a better experience when venturing into nature. OUTO was cofounded in 2021 by Phil Young and Keme Nzerem, alongside Adidas Terrex, Arcteryx, Patagonia, The North Face and Vivobarefoot.

Trend Bite

As the powerful benefits of nature for mental and physical health become more widely recognized, people are looking to those in authority — governments and brands — to not only improve access to outdoor activities but also to ensure this access is equitable. Younger generations, especially, want to support brands that align with their personal beliefs. And they're quick to pick up on performative allyship.

The North Face just stepped up with a practical tool to boost diversity. Other organizations connected to the outdoor industry: how can your brand embody and demonstrate respect and understanding for different cultural practices? Are you working to ensure outdoor spaces are accessible, safe and welcoming for all? On social media, do you recognize and actively combat ignorance and prejudice? In short, are you showing up as a true ally?