Access to healthy forests is essential for outdoor enthusiasts and core to REI’s business. We use fiber and resulting paper products throughout our operations—from catalogs to cardboard and packaging to ship products, to the hang tags we place on our branded gear and apparel.
REI’s paper and paper products purchasing policy is designed to reduce our environmental footprint, make visible the paper supply chain including and beyond our purchasing practices, and align our operations with our values and aspirations. We prefer to purchase paper products manufactured from post-consumer waste or virgin fiber harvested from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests, and we work to avoid buying products where the fiber comes from unknown or unwanted sources.
Sustainable forestry and efforts to influence our paper supply chain are strongly related to packaging innovations driven by our commitment to product stewardship and waste reduction.
We invite you to read more about our efforts at our website and the REI blog for a post highlighting our success in reducing packaging.
Overall, our paper use dropped to 6,298 tons, the lowest level since we started reporting in 2006. This drop is related to the significant reduction in the number of catalogs we mailed during the year, which generated 1,957 tons in 2011 versus 3,254 tons in 2010.
Because the co-op’s catalogs and printed materials are produced on FSC-certified materials, the large reduction in direct mail also impacted our overall percentage of FSC-certified fiber.
We are encouraged that our use of virgin fiber dropped in 2011 to the lowest level on record, or 3,827 tons. This is due largely to relatively high levels of post-consumer recycled paper used in the cardboard industry. Combined, our use of post-consumer recycled fiber and FSC certified fiber was 65.5 percent of our total paper footprint.