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WBIA Concludes General Assembly with Focus on Sustainability of global supply chains and continued involvement at the UN and WHO level

Switzerland, 26 July, 2023The World Bicycle Industry Association (WBIA) successfully concluded its annual General Assembly, where key stakeholders from the global bicycle industry associations gathered to discuss the ongoing industry developments and set strategic objectives for the future.

Chaired by WBIA President Erhard Büchel, the meeting took place on the 22nd of June at EUROBIKE 2023 in Frankfurt and resulted in a reinforced commitment to the work of WBIA at the UN level and the 10 Sustainability Principles agreed on at the 2023 Taipei Cycle Show.  

The General Assembly saw active participation from representatives of WBIA member associations, including the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI), Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA) Bicycle Association Japan (BAJ), All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA), and People for Bikes (USA).  

Taking stock of the fruitful event at the Taipei Cycle Show in March, the General Assembly agreed to strengthen the focus on the 10 sustainability principles i.e., effective data management, education, energy, circular economy, material consumption, eco-design, sustainable supply chains, focus on E-bikes, carbon offset projects and carbon footprint verification even further. There is a unique momentum for WBIA to take a leading role in coordinating the industry on global guidance regarding sustainable supply chains. Additionally, there was broad agreement to reach out to more global stakeholders and foster cooperation with associations that are not yet part of WBIA.

Collaborating on global sustainability initiatives during the WBIA General Assembly was an important exercise for our team at PeopleForBikes,” said Jenn Dice, President and CEO of PeopleForBikes. “Bringing back resources and processes to help our more than 300 industry members make progress on their sustainability goals will undoubtedly change the impact the bicycle industry has on our planet for the better.” she continued.

WBIA continues to be involved in different fora and projects at the UN level including the Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion, as well as on global technical regulations on vehicle-to-vehicle communication, for example, including the update on the UN blind spot information system to detect cyclists.

Furthermore, the Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA) proposed hosting the next WBIA General Assembly in Taipei during the 2024 Taipei Cycle Show, a motion that received unanimous support from the participants. Robert Wu, Chairman of TBA said: “Thank you WBIA for making this possible. It is our great honor to have this opportunity to host the WBIA General Assembly at the 2024 Taipei Cycle Show and with conscientious effort dedicated to ESG and Sustainability. Together we hope to contribute and move forward in a more innovative and visionary direction.”

Erhard Büchel, President of WBIA and CONEBI said: “The Bicycle Industry is dynamically developing – and it is as important as ever to look for global sustainability solutions. I am pleased to see such a high level of commitment from our members to the 10 sustainability principles, on which our future projects will be built. Moreover, I am pleased with the good work being done by WBIA at the UN level, representing our voice for the further growth of our industry at the global political level.

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WBIA Unveiled Principles For Sustainable Supply Chain At The Taipei Cycle Show

Taipei Cycle Show, 23 March – WBIA presented its Principles for more sustainable supply chain to the Bicycle Industry at a high level event held at the Taipei Cycle Show on 23 March. The aim of the WBIA Principles, divided up into 10 topics, is to advise companies on how to achieve significant environmental gains by adjusting their supply chain and production processes. In the panel discussion, representatives from leading companies also provided concrete examples on how WBIA Principles can be applied by sharing best practices from their work – whether it comes to clean energy, carbon footprint reductions or improved ecodesign and material use. You can access the principles here.

The event was opened by the WBIA and CONEBI President Erhard Büchel and the host of the session, TBA President Robert Wu. The speakers included Bob Margevicius (Specialized), Charlie Liu (Giant + Bicycling Alliance for Sustainability), Clémence Pétillion and Kubat Narynbek (Decathlon), Nick Myhre (SRAM), Burkhard Stork (ZIV); Manuel Marsilio and Jana Hrčková from the WBIA secretariat took on the role of the moderators.

The 10 Principles were put together by top industry experts from the several associations within the WBIA. The Principles are not supposed to represent an exhaustive overview of possible environmental action; nevertheless, they are a substantial overview of the fields in which effective changes can be made in the production process.

There is more to come from the WBIA. The Principles for more sustainable supply chain are just a beginning of the exchange on sustainability at a global level. As a next step, WBIA members agreed to further develop the recommendations and continue with collecting best practices from companies. With the new focus on sustainability, WBIA aims to guide and support the Bicycle Industry in its green transition– reflecting on the developments around the world.

The organization of the event was kindly hosted by Taiwan Bicycle Association, TAITRA and Bicycling Alliance for Sustainability.

Quotes:

Erhard Büchel from CONEBI and WBIA said: “As Bicycle Industry, we understand that the time to take sustainability action is now. Everybody knows that a bicycle is a solution and the Bicycle Industry now follows suit, aspiring to become as green as the product itself. That is why with the WBIA Principles for more sustainable supply chain, we are kicking off the conversation at a global level, under the roof of the WBIA. I am convinced that together we can learn from each other and have real impact. Several WBIA members already have amazing track record in sustainability action; when we pool our knowledge, nothing is impossible.”

“Addressing climate change is crucial to the future of the bike industry, which is why PeopleForBikes founded our industry Sustainability Working Group (SWG). Made up of 80 experts from 40+ bike industry brands across the United States, our SWG has the knowledge and experience to achieve meaningful progress on sustainability issues,” said PeopleForBikes Chief of Staff JJ Trout. “Our most pressing issue is within the global supply chain. The creation of these guidelines addressing this issue, with input from global partners, is a great indicator that the worldwide bicycle industry is ready to go further, faster, together. We are honored to be part of the solution.”

Robert Wu, Taiwan Bicycle Association President added: “As an important member of the global bicycle industry, the Taiwan Bicycle Industry advocates for promoting cycling culture and harmonious partnerships in the world-wide bicycle industry to cultivate a better world. BAS, CHC & TBA build a strategic triangular platform dedicated to providing green mobility via green manufacturing. We have only one Earth, so we must embrace comprehensive mutual altruism to advance and unify the greater good. Cycling is the simplest solution for environment protection. Let’s CYCLE NOW for a monumental green promise to our Earth and to our future.”

WBIA Unveiled Principles For Sustainable Supply Chain At The Taipei Cycle Show
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The WBIA General Assembly debates industry and market developments at a global level

The annual General Assembly of the World Bicycle Industry Association (WBIA) took place remotely on Friday 21 October 2022.

Delegates at the General Assembly exchanged on the global market developments and provided updates from their respective countries. Following up on a record year 2020 fuelled by the Covid-induced lockdowns, the global Bicycle Industry continued growing in 2021. The supply chain disruptions that dominated the discussion last year remain an issue; however, most manufacturers managed to refill their stocks amid the increased optimism fuelled by the extraordinary consumer demand. At the same time, a degree of market rebalancing can be expected next year, accompanied with a cooling of growth. Erhard Büchel, the WBIA president commented: “We know that the next year might be difficult for the Bicycle Industry with the energy crisis and a challenging geopolitical situation. However, we see tremendous interest in cycling – and that will not disappear. I am therefore very optimistic about the prospects of the Bicycle Industry.

Larry Pizzi from the Board of Directors of the People for Bikes contributed with a view from the US market: “Even though unit sales have plateaued in the past year, we see the market value being strong. Importantly, cycling participation in the US remains elevated over the pre-pandemic level. Once people discover cycling there is no way back.”

WBIA’s year at the United Nations was as busy as ever. Following up on adoption of the first-ever Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion, a new Expert Group on Cycling Infrastructure was formed, with the active participation of the WBIA. Among other things, the United Nations’ expert group is working on harmonisation of signs and signals for cyclists and cycling infrastructure all over the world as well as to improve definitions and standards linked to cycling – for example, WBIA is responsible for proposing a new definition of a ‘cycle’, allowing for an expansion of the UN rules to officially acknowledge the rise of e-bikes from a global definition standpoint.

Furthermore, the WBIA continued engaging in discussions about new rules and regulatory proposals linked to the automated and connected vehicle communication with special focus on VRU safety. Further development of automatic emergency braking, information awareness and blind spot information systems for cars and trucks have the potential to greatly contribute to the safety of cyclists everywhere and are being constantly improved. “The Bicycle Industry is dynamically developing – and it is as important as ever to look for global regulatory solutions. It is great to know that WBIA is at the table at the UN, representing our voice and making sure that the future rules are favourable for further growth of the industry,” said Iliya Semenov from the Board of NADBM. Importantly, there have been ongoing conversations on how to approach the rise of new personal mobility devices such as e-scooters within the UN regulatory frameworks. WBIA will continue working to make sure that bicycles remain clearly distinguished from such devices, while supporting development of future proof rules that reflect their growing presence in the streets.

There have also been extensive exchanges about the future of mobility, with international experts highlighting the crucial role of cycling in reaching global sustainable development goals – and the expertise of WBIA will play an essential role here. Rajagopal U. AICMA President reacted: “There is a tectonic shift in mobility coming up with more green and e-mobility solutions, in India and beyond. With an emerging economy and an extraordinarily young demographics, Indians are bound to embrace even more cycling; we can be confident about the future of the Bicycle Industry.

Besides the UN work, one of the main new additions to the WBIA activities is the first-ever WBIA Global Market Report, collecting market intelligence from the key markets. Shinji Hara, Vice Chairman of BAJ said: “We are happy that WBIA decided to work on such a pioneering study. The Bicycle Industry professionals everywhere will surely welcome the global market overview.” The 2022 report with 2021 data is in the final stages of preparation and will be published in the upcoming weeks. The report will be published annually, with an ambition to provide a comprehensive overview of the global bicycle market developments.

Finally, the delegates agreed that the next WBIA General Assembly will be held in person in Frankfurt at the Eurobike 2023. “We are already looking forward to meeting with colleagues from the WBIA in person. In our work as TBA, we know that physical trade show gatherings of industry are still important to experience the vibe within a sector. After the two long years of lockdowns, it’s time for us to exchange and celebrate the work of the association together,” said Gina Chang, Secretary General of TBA. In 2023, WBIA will continue to develop its activities working on behalf of the global Bicycle Industry, helping to bring the passion for cycling to everyone in the world.

 

WBIA consists of People for Bikes (USA), Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA), All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA), the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry Association of Russia (NADBM), Industry association of Mexico (ANAFABI), Bicycle Association Japan (BAJ) and CONEBI (Europe).

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Participants at the WBIA General Assembly discuss supply disruptions concerns and look ahead to 2022

The annual General Assembly of the World Bicycle Industry Association (WBIA) took place remotely on Wednesday 10 November 2021. WBIA consists of People for Bikes (USA), Taiwan Bicycle Association (TBA), All India Cycle Manufacturers Association (AICMA) and the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry Association of Russia (NADBM), Industry association of Mexico (ANAFABI) and Bicycle Association Japan and CONEBI (Europe).

The General Assembly discussed the global industry market outlook, with supply chain disruptions at the centre of the conversation. Worldwide, producers are facing major uncertainty due to costly and time-consuming shortages. After reaching record figures in 2020, the market continues to grow, but the supply of bicycles by far cannot match the consumer demand, leading to a slow-down in sales. At the same time, there is optimism that the elevated interest in cycling will continue in the upcoming years, with governments all around the world supporting initiatives and investments in cycling. “It has been a tough year for many producers both in Europe and globally, but the interest in cycling is as high as ever; we must do our best to keep the momentum going” said Erhard Büchel, president of WBIA and CONEBI, Europe. Gina Chang from TBA, Taiwan, added that “in Taiwan, the time of lockdowns is hopefully over, and we are working on several events promoting our members in the upcoming year. Smart manufacturing and smart cycling shall be the way forward in 2021.”

For WBIA, it was a remarkably intense year at the United Nations (UN). Importantly, a first-ever Pan-European Masterplan for Cycling Promotion was adopted in May 2021. WBIA was actively involved in the preparation of this historic document together with ECF and governmental stakeholders under the aegis of the UN and the WHO. Iliya Semenov from NADBM, Russia, commented: “We are delighted that Russia and other countries recognise the role of cycling in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Masterplan for Cycling Promotion implementation can directly contribute to the efforts by delivering social, environmental and economic benefits.” The document has a great potential to serve as a cycling advocacy and promotion playbook beyond the Pan-European region and for all WBIA members. “Best practices and policy recommendations on cycling development included in the Masterplan make it an excellent ready-to-use document, allowing governments worldwide to jump-start their cycling policies. In the past years, India has made a considerable progress in cycling promotion, but the task for the future is clear – implement the recommendations of the Masterplan globally,” said Onkar Singh Pahwa from AICMA, India.

WBIA has also participated in the development of new regulatory proposals for UN countries linked to the future of road safety in the field of automated and connected vehicle communication. For example, work on global technical regulations on equipping cars with an advanced emergency braking systems capable of detecting bicycles is underway, with implementation in some countries starting as soon as 2026. Blind spot information systems and proximity awareness systems regulations are also being either developed or improved, contributing to safer cycling experience. “The work done at the UN is vital for outlining the future of traffic safety; we have to make sure that the changes in vehicle regulations deliver benefits for cyclists everywhere,” said Shinji Hara from Bicycle Association Japan. “The intelligent transport systems development in the United States received a significant boost with the new $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill passed by the Congress in November 2021. We hope that the funding will help us make cycling safer and more accessible,” added Larry Pizzi from People for Bikes, United States.

Furthermore, WBIA has been involved in intensive discussions on personal mobility devices and road traffic safety happening at the UN level, with focus on potential global policies and regulations. The global mobility landscape is rapidly changing with new devices such as hover-boards and e-scooters becoming increasingly popular; the different regulatory frameworks for these new mobility devices should catch up with the developments. It is therefore crucial that a common forward-looking approach is negotiated, reflecting the shifts in mobility in a way that brings tangible benefits for everyone.

The WBIA workplan for 2022 is no less ambitious. Besides possible promotional activities linked to the Masterplan for Cycling, the members will work on a global market report, collecting market intelligence from the key markets. The report will be published annually, providing a comprehensive overview of the global bicycle market developments. Finally, WBIA will also produce a white paper on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); the document will serve as a comprehensive basis for future engagements with the UN and for continued road safety advocacy for cyclists and other vulnerable road users within the frame of ITS.