Dear CIE Members, supporters and partners,
The last three years have seen unprecedented change for all companies in Europe. We should be proud of the contribution that our products and services made to a remarkable boom in cycling levels during the coronavirus pandemic.
I hope we’ll look back on these years as a watershed moment that set cycling on a new trajectory. We would be forgiven for wanting 2023 to be a time of stability and calm, for consolidating and in particular for companies in the bicycle supply chain to stabilize inventories. The reality is that we must evolve still further, coming of age as a sustainable, resilient and digital industry of the future.
It is our job at CIE to help anticipate coming challenges with regulatory and market intelligence, work out solutions collectively and engage with policy makers, to drive progress from within, on our own terms, rather than find ourselves destabilised by change imposed from outside.
In our work we break down our priorities into two “transitions”. The first transition is about how Europeans move. Not just in transportation, but also for recreation, sport, health and holidays. This is the good news: many cyclists who started riding in 2020 and 2021 are still there, and there is a realistic prospect of another 50 million new cyclists in Europe by 2030.
These successes encouraged more investments into cycling from governments and private investors. For example, France just reported a further 8% growth in 2022, up an astonishing 31% since pre covid levels and our Market Intelligence Expert Group regularly sees data on more growth in many other countries. E-bike sharing trips in Europe rose by an extraordinary 136% year-on-year as more cities and companies made shared e-bikes available.
This underlying growth in cycling underpins everything we do, and we are continuing the pressure on public bodies to spend much more. CIE has successfully advocated for cycling measures to be part of European funding programmes that will help countries accelerate their green transition (RePowerEU) and facilitate people’s access to green products. More national investments are announced every month too, for example over €1 billion of new funds from the Dutch government.
Therefore growth in cycling is the stable base on which we build our businesses, with CIE and our partners maintaining your advocacy pressure to make growth possible in all countries, for people of all ages, abilities and economic circumstances.
However there is a second priority to our work which we call the “industrial ecosystem transition”. And it must be a real transition, because “business-as-usual” will not make our sector more competitive, sustainable, resilient, digital or attract the investment and employees we need when competing with other industries. In our EU advocacy work, we see how other industries and companies embrace challenges like these. This agenda setters see collaboration as “win-win” and regulation as a tool of success in the world’s biggest single market.
In late 2022 the EU agreed new policy including batteries, raw materials, carbon tariffs, industry aid, mandatory data disclosure, critical raw materials and gender parity. Soon all companies will have to conform to international standards on transparency and traceability in many of these areas. Our research into supply chains also showed that many companies already see a need for a fundamental rethink about how the industry handles forecasting and inventory, reducing the current challenges of too much stock in some areas while shortages continue in others.
We too can plan for this together, or methods developed for other industries could be imposed, which could be expensive and inefficient. Our Expert Group on Sustainability has already published an ambitious pledge on packaging waste, next could be supply chains, carbon footprints and product life cycles, developing our own circular economy for metals, rubber, plastics and batteries. We have much to do and much to learn, so we will be partnering in new European associations and platforms dealing with these subjects to give our members unique access to this knowledge.
The introduction of digital product passports will start with e-bike batteries by 2026, then we can expect bikes and components to follow. A recent report by Deloitte says that creating the digital tools needed will cost companies that work alone three times more than standardized industry approaches. But collaboration could be rewarded with a global set of digital tools that will strengthen our whole industry.
2023 will be a year when cycling companies must make decisions on many of these key subjects. A new CIE strategy has no doubt which path our members and our association will take, because we are fully committed to collaborative advocacy and creating a stronger and more resilient cycling industrial ecosystem in Europe.
Thank you to our members. Your brands, your expertise, your intelligence and your energy show all levels of government the strength and dynamism of our sector. If your company is not a member of CIE then I must say “now is the time”. Become part of the CIE team, working together with other companies for a stronger cycling sector, collaborating to strengthen every company.
We are looking forward to working with you all for a productive and successful 2023.
Kevin Mayne and the CIE Team