REI measures its overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to minimize risks to our business and identify cost reduction opportunities. To measure our GHG emissions, we account for REI Adventures, employee commuting and corporate travel, energy use, product transportation, direct fulfillment, and miscellaneous emissions. We consider our operational footprint to include all of the above except for REI Adventures.
As one of the company’s key performance indicators, our 2012 operational footprint climate impact target was to be 1.1 percent above the prior year. At 72,731 tons CO2, we beat our target by 5.2 percent and achieved a 7.6 percent absolute reduction in CO2 emissions from 2011 to 2012 while company sales grew 7.4 percent.
To learn more about how we measure our environmental impacts, please see the methodology appendix.
As a key performance indicator, we beat our overall energy goal to use only 1.0 percent more energy than in 2011. Our absolute energy increased by 0.4 percent year over year.
Our relative electricity consumption for our retail stores decreased from 2011 levels because of the implementation of energy efficiency investments. More encouraging is that since 2005 our annual electricity consumption for stores open for one year has continued to decrease because energy efficiency measures are part of our standard building design.
In 2012, we added solar electrical systems to three stores (two rooftop systems and one new carport system at a store that already had rooftop solar), bringing the company’s total investment to 26 locations (25 stores and one distribution center). Approximately 20 percent of our retail locations have solar systems that generate between 15 and near 100 percent of their electricity needs. In 2012, we launched an infographic highlighting our solar energy investments, which you can see here.
For more information about our energy strategy, please visit http://www.rei.com/stewardship/sustainable-operations/greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction.html
Our employee commuting emissions decreased by 27 percent from 2011. The shift occurred due to better employee commuting data and changes in commuting behavior. As the co-op continues to grow, we are working to create changes in commuting behavior through the promotion of ride-sharing and alternative commuting options and understanding the barriers to alternative commuting.
To learn more about our strategy to reduce our employee commuting footprint and incentives offered at REI, visit http://www.rei.com/stewardship/sustainable-operations/greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction.html.
Product transportation accounted for 17 percent of our operational GHG emissions, similar to 2011 and 2010. Emissions decreased by 9 percent in a fiscal year where REI’s sales grew by 7.4 percent. Our logistics team continues to minimize air freight and increase opportunities to consolidate freight.
Our REI Adventures climate impact was slightly lower than in past years, due to a more accurate assessment of the in-country greenhouse gas impacts of our trips. In 2012, we stopped purchasing carbon offsets for our travel business and we are assessing our REI Adventures business using sustainability assessments that focus on more than just greenhouse gas impact. Our REI Adventures team completed work with a team of students from the Blekinge Institute of Technology to develop a broad environmental assessment using the Natural Step Framework, a model that helps organizations make pragmatic decisions to make progress toward sustainability. More details of our greenhouse gas accounting are in our methodology section.
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