Leave to the fly fishing industry to set an example of deciding what’s best for the sport, i.e. consumer, with the bonus that it’s more environmentally friendly. A calculated risk to be certain, but I’d call it a smart mix of business acumen and anticipating an audience’s needs.
On day two of the Fly Fishing Retailer Show, Simms Fishing Products announced that it would stop using felt soles on its wading boots by 2010. While other boot makers offer rubber-soled wading boots, I think Simms is the first to ban felt from their entire line. The press release on Specialty News Web site sums it up:
[Simms President K.C.] Walsh said Simms’ decision to do away with felt is a result of the material being implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species and fish-killing disease. Walsh noted that anglers have always been among the nation’s first wave of conservationists, and with options to felt now on the market, anglers had a responsibility to both the resource and the tradition of angling to cease their use of felt.
Granted, the decision wasn’t made in a vacuum:
Late last week, national conservation leader Trout Unlimited asked at its annual meeting that wading boot manufacturers phase out felt by 2011.
While anglers are noted for an environmental consciousness and Simms professes to be “…eager to lead the charge” in leaving felt soles behind, it didn’t have to do so. The fact is it did.
Wonder if American auto makers might have benefited from adopting this approach a few years ago? Scary to think that because of a lack of forward thinking or opting to build what consumers might need — instead of selling them on bigger and faster — that we can no longer apply the idea of “too big to fail” to the big American auto makers, or, for that matter, any industry. Just ask AIG or Lehman Brothers.