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SOG Celebrates 20 Years…
with focus on the next 20.

Published by Mountainblog on .


Scandinavian Outdoor Group was founded with great enthusiasm in October 2001 and the very first member meeting was held in Stockholm, today exactly 20 years ago. By then, SOG was a group of 15 member brands. After 20 years on the successful path of strengthening ”Scandinavian Outdoor”, 67 premium outdoor brands from the Nordic countries are members of SOG. In total 3810 years of experience, joint together.

Ten founding members are members of SOG today: Dale of Norway, Haglöfs, Hestra, Hilleberg, Icebug, Lundhags, Peak Performance, Primus, Silva, Tentipi.

On initiative from Martin Kössler, then at Haglöfs, a meeting was held in the spring 2001 at the Swedish Trade Council (Exportrådet) where the idea of forming an export cooperation group was first pitched to a number of outdoor companies. Six months later, the Scandinavian Outdoor Group was officially formed.

Every journalist asked the same question during our first years, “How can you cooperate, you are competitors!” recalls Martin Kössler, founder and former secretary general and president of the Scandinavian Outdoor Group. I’m glad they were wrong. During 20 years, SOG has not only established Europe’s biggest
educational program for outdoor retailers, become a driver for a more sustainable and responsible industry but also contributed to the foundation of EOG and inspired outdoor brands to team up and work together internatonally. For me personally it gave many friends around the world sharing the same passion and values.

The main focus of SOG in the beginning was to form the Scandinavian Villages at the international trade shows, to prioritize on the German market and international media. The very first slogan of SOG was “It ́s more fun to do business with Scandinavians”. This was actually a comment from a retailer at the very first SOG party for 800 invited guests in central Munich.

It’s incredible that it’s been 20 years, says Bo Hilleberg, founder of Hilleberg the Tentmaker and one of the founders of SOG. I have so many great memories. Thanks to SOG I have met fantastic colleagues and international customers from the outdoor industry. Perhaps my best memories come from our joint Outdoor
Academies, when we invite our customers to trekking and skiing in our Scandinavian mountains.

The aim of SOG, since the beginning, is to strengthen the image and profit of member brands on an international level through cooperation and joint projects. The group believes that by working together, 1+1 can equal 3. This is the core values of SOG:

With the HERITAGE and traditions of Scandinavia. We make PREMIUM outdoor products, with INNOVATIONS created from challenges of our demanding nature. We strive to DO GOOD, for people and for nature. We do this with PASSION and JOY. Together.

So, how could SOG stay relevant for the next 20 years?

My dream is that the SOG gears up even further and becomes a sustainability super-power to spearhead the change of the outdoor industry, that takes a leading role in changing business at large, says David Ekelund, current chairman of the SOG board, as well as CEO of Icebug. With the global challenges faced, the purpose of business will have to change from growth and consumption to satisfying relevant human needs with minimal resource use.

– With this grounded link to nature that we share, that makes us want to protect it, we can together focus on what really makes a difference to get structural change to happen, continues David Ekelund. The condition for this is trust. This is the secret sauce that makes the SOG work better than all the other outdoor groups that have tried to model after us.

Since a couple of months, SOG have a new Secretary General, with focus on the future of SOG.

The need and purpose for SOG seem more important now then ever before, says David Nordblad, Secretary General of SOG. Together we are able to do so much more and further strengthen Scandinavia as a leading hub for the outdoor industry. Lets us remember our history, and values but then look forward to the coming years and what we can achieve as one unit.

INFO: Scandinavian Outdoor Group