REI selectively engages in public policy dialogues that support the pursuit of our core purpose and that allow us to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.
These generally speaking fall into two categories. First, they include issues that affect public access to and enjoyment of parks, trails, waterways and other natural places where people enjoy outdoor recreation. Here, we work with partners and government officials to ensure that as the public policy landscape evolves, our members, customers and employees are able to pursue the outdoor activities they enjoy. Second, we work on public policy matters that impact our daily business operations both directly and as part of the broader outdoor industry.
To accomplish this work, we operate a small government affairs program. The team relies on a full-time government affairs director, periodic engagement by senior REI staff and leaders, and the Monument Policy Group, a political and policy consultancy in Washington, D.C. We also belong to trade associations that have their own government affairs operations. We work actively with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) to advance the policy agenda for outdoor recreation, both with respect to public lands and operational issues. For issues that specifically affect retailers, we participate in some of the policy initiatives driven by the Retail Industry Leaders Association. And in Washington state, where we are headquartered, we are members of the Washington Retail Association.
We also regularly partner with non-profits, coalitions and other associations on different issues and in different venues depending on the topic. The Outdoor Alliance and Bikes Belong are just two examples of these types of organizations. The former represents a collaboration of leading national outdoor user groups that work to assure their access to unique climbing, kayaking, white water rafting and other adventurous places. Bikes Belong works on policies and supports programs that promote bicycling and make it both safer and a more viable mode of transportation.
The bulk of REI's efforts in 2012 were focused on a handful of initiatives. Most policy initiatives take quite some time to play out given the push and pull of the democratic process. While we feel we continue to make headway, each of our major efforts remains a work in progress.
In terms of protecting parks, waterways and trails—and promoting greater access to them—we:
To assure REI’s product development and retail operations remain competitive in a challenging marketplace, in 2012 we:
Federal and state laws require REI to file forms describing certain, more detailed aspects of our work on policy matters. These disclosures are updated on a regular basis. We believe the most useful tools for tracking the data are:
With respect to financing campaigns for public office, REI as a company makes no contributions either directly to candidates or indirectly via Super PACs. REI employees and executives may choose to make personal contributions to political campaigns. In addition, the OIA operates a political action committee, and eligible REI employees may make contributions to it. At both the federal and state levels, there are systems in place that capture and disclose information about campaign contributions. In our view, the best tools for tracking that data are:
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