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What is CSR @ REI?

Hello.  My name is Kevin, and I’ll be blogging about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or as we call it at REI: stewardship.  If the co-op’s purpose is to get people outdoors, stewardship is all about doing our part to make sure there is an outdoors to get out to. 

That means REI is a different kind of business. Back in 1938, the founders set a high bar for responsible business, starting with launching REI as a co-op.  Over the years, REI employees have carried the tradition through community involvement, volunteerism, and trying to make good business choices.  In 2005 we took a big step by launching a formal CSR effort.  As our CEO says, we went from “random acts of kindness” to a process-driven approach.  While our members and employees can be proud of the many good things we’re doing, we’re taking on a big challenge. 

Conventional wisdom holds that business has to make a choice between “doing the right thing” and being financially successful.  We think there’s another way.  We believe when we are creative, collaborative and innovative, we can find business solutions that solve environmental and social problems instead of create them.  A little romantic, a little hopeful, a little crazy?  Maybe.  But, we’ve got over 9,000 employees who want to make a difference in the world, and we’ve got almost 4 million active members who care about the outdoors.

Our stewardship work starts with humility because we’re always learning.  The next step is transparency: We share the details of what we’re measuring and our results through our annual Stewardship Report.

With this blog, I’m looking forward to sharing highlights, challenges and hopefully engaging members in some good discussions.  Your input here is another way you can join us in making the REI co-op a different kind of business. 

Stay tuned for more and let’s get out there and make a difference


Posted on at 5:23 PM

Tagged: stewardship and volunteerism

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betty booper

If REI is really serious about social responsibility then I would like to see an effort to have more American made clothing in your stores. You can start with your own brand. It would be better for the environment to not be shipping things all over the planet and to make things where there is enforcement of environmental regulations. Plus, who is going to buy your clothing in the US when all the jobs are gone. Make a difference and commit to US manufactured goods now!

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