Business Health

How Arc’teryx is Connecting People to Nature

Black and white image for Arc'tyrex of a person walking on a bridge over a body of water.

To celebrate that feeling of getting out into the great outdoors, Canadian outerwear brand Arc’teryx is committing $1-million to help others experience the transformative power of nature, or what they call, Outer Peace.

Arc’teryx, which began as the go-to company for hiking gear, has become a leader for innovation at the intersection of outdoor practicality and design. The Outer Peace initiative is an extension of the brand’s commitment to improving the outdoor experience for all.

“A big part of our focus was advancing people’s skills when it came to backcountry skiing or climbing or hiking,” said George Weetman, VP of Brand and Digital Commerce at Arc’teryx.  “But we realized that the most important thing that we can bring to the world is getting people to recognize the power of nature that’s just outside your front door.”

He said that the company was inspired by the lessons of Florence Williams’s book, The Nature Fix.

Within the book, Williams looks at how environment, health, and science are connected, and how getting outdoors can be a winning combination of the three. “The insights she had around how impactful nature can be, even outside of a mountain setting, I think for us as a brand was sort of a big ‘Aha!’ moment,” said Weetman.

The journalist and non-fiction writer—and now an ambassador for the Outer Peace campaign—said she first became interested in the power of nature after noticing how her mood was affected based on where she lived and if she went outside that day. The feeling of joy that comes from going for a walk? It’s no coincidence.

“If we can learn how to activate our senses when we’re outside, then it’s a kind of a shortcut to emotional restoration,” said Williams. “So, take the earbuds out, and tune into the present moment. I’ll ask myself, ‘What birds am I hearing? What patterns am I seeing?’ Once your senses wake up, the science shows that our blood pressure drops, our stress hormones drop, our moods increase and it’s good for our immune systems.”

She recommends building up a habit of going outside. For herself, Williams takes a walk during the sunset so she can enjoy the beauty of the changing colours of the sky, and so she has something to look forward to every day.

A black and white photo of a woman, Florence Williams, an Arc'tyrex ambassador, sitting in a canoe on the water, looking to her right.
Florence Williams enjoys ‘Outer Peace’ in a promotional shot for the initiative.

And while the outdoors can provide a source of solace for many, Arc’teryx also recognizes that there can be barriers and inequalities to finding Outer Peace. A major component of the initiative centers around working with strategic partners to increase outdoor accessibility for those that have been traditionally marginalized.

The overall goal for the outwear brand is that Outer Peace spans into a multi-year program to create long-lasting change in how the outdoors is enjoyed.

“We feel like we can have the most impact as a brand by introducing people to this power of nature,” said Weetman. “Then if they get hooked on it, the next step is getting them into provincial parks, national parks, and then if they want the full thing, well, we’ve been in that business [backcountry skiing, climbing, and hiking] for 30 years.”

In addition to supporting its strategic partners, Arc’teryx has a grant program for local, grassroots organizations that are working towards the same goals as the Outer Peace initiative. If your company is working to remove the barriers for people who have traditionally been excluded from accessing a connection to nature, you can apply here.

Applications are open until Feb. 28, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

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