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The bicycle industry requires collaboration

The bicycle industry requires collaboration

The bike industry thrives on a healthy spirit of competition. Just like any industry companies battle for market share, but as a sector with a great sporting heritage there is the added spice of winning races and supporting athletes.

However at the 2023 Eurobike Show in Frankfurt a new word dominated all the conferences and events held alongside the trade fair. Collaboration.

Company after company stated that the only way forward on many key topics was to build alliances and partnerships with competitors, customers and suppliers. This wasn’t just European voices, suppliers from around the world are ready to partner with European companies and associations to strengthen supply chains and comply with European regulations. Illustrating the discussions were calls for joined-up working in supply, sustainability and battery regulations.

Post-COVID it became clear that our supply chain management has fundamental weaknesses due to lack of data and transparency, provoking calls for new real-time intelligence about consumer and trade purchasing.

The UK has a live market tracking scheme supported by 70 % of the retailers in the UK and France now has a mandatory product recording for every bike sold as an anti-theft measure.

Bringing these many initiatives together could provide a comprehensive intelligence service for the whole industry.

Bicycle: Collaboration and Sustainability

Sustainability is a topic sweeping through the industry, but the bike that reaches the consumer is a amalgam of components and processes from across the globe, so no one company can declare a carbon footprint or a product life-cycle without including standardized contributions from all suppliers.

The Sustainability Track events on Friday at Frankfurt demonstrated an urgency to start work on these processes. Germany is taking the lead with organisations Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV), Verbund Service und Fahrrad (VSF) and Zukunft Fahrrad and BikeBrainPool uniting to produce common guidelines for companies.

As part of the EU’s commitment to sustainable products new battery regulations are coming in to force from 2023. These include mandatory product passports and requirements for repairability, recycling and recovery. All these requirements will require international and national systems to track products, measure compliance rates and ensure that there is a fully functioning circular economy in batteries in every market. The battery passport has to be ready within 3 years, so the clock is now ticking.

Cycling Industries Europe and its partners recognise that the international associations are an obvious place for these new collaborations to start, because we already have a track record of creating expert communities and because associations offer a legal framework where competitors can collaborate without overstepping the boundaries of competition law.

This has started with cycling Expert Groups like those on Sustainability, but we can see that other sectors like automotive, batteries or renewable energy have created new structures for research and collaboration.

It seems likely that we will need new projects, alliances and expert structures in our associations, but the industry is clearly ready to take the next step.

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