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Shimano should be praised not "shamed" for their environmental efforts

– Note: Upon learning of this advocacy campaign called “Shame on Shimano”, I felt compelled to let IMBA constituents know how unbalanced and maligned this is in its representation of one of the bike industry’s stalwart conservation proponents.

Within the bicycle industry, there exists a strong awareness and authentic culture of environmentalism. After all, the bicycle is a solution for many of today’s environmental and social challenges. And yet, a certain large environmental advocacy organization via its California office has decided to smear Shimano American because of Shimano’s science based views on how best to protect and manage marine habitat.

Many cyclists may not know that Shimano also manufactures fishing tackle for sports-fishing enthusiasts. Like their bicycle components and soft goods, Shimano’s fishing gear is well respected. As with their investment in the conservation of trails and open space that encourages access and enjoyment of bicycling on natural trails, Shimano also recognizes and invests in conservation and stewardship of healthy marine ecosystems. Bicycling and fishing are among the top outdoor recreation activities in the USA. That is a good thing for our country and especially today with ever increasing rates of obesity, due in part to inactivity.

It’s quite apparent to me that a company that sells products that helps people enjoy and recreate outdoors would not want to promote policies that diminish the places where that recreation occurs. So ask yourself, why would Shimano, as alleged by this egregious campaign titled “Shame on Shimano”, do something that could potentially hurt its business? Do the organizers of this misguided maligning of Shimano think bicycle enthusiasts will buy into this ridiculous approach to boycott Shimano products? By direct extension this campaign would also say “shame on you” should you purchase Shimano products. I reject that and know from experience, shaming people into environmental stewardship doesn’t work.

And I can speak with some authority on this topic and can accurately represent Shimano’s long-time conservation pedigree. Let me give you just one example. Shimano awarded IMBA a special grant to promote and disseminate information of how our largely volunteer trail conservation work can also help protect important wildlife and fish habitat. Check it out, here - Shimano Habitat Guide for trail conservation.

Did you know that it was Shimano’s leadership and funding that help establish effective techniques and equipment for live release as a best practice for sport-fishing? Their investment engaged fish biologists who took a critical scientific approach to the practice of catch and release from the point of view of healthy fish populations. That does not sound like a company that cares little for marine habitat protection.  And there is more I could cite as compelling evidence that Shimano is an active proponent of environmental stewardship of the natural world. Again, don’t be duped by the hype and maligning of Shimano. This is nothing more than a theatrical approach which, if applied consistently, would soon be calling for boycotts of many companies and their products that outdoor enthusiasts rely on to enjoy our great outdoors. And it’s that enjoyment and appreciation that then inspires conservation.

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