Eric Artz: Our 2022 Impact Report
An early look at this year's results in a letter from REI President and CEO Eric Artz.
As a co-op, we measure success differently than most companies. Our goal is to run a healthy business, which enables us to make a positive impact on our employees, members, and society. Our annual Impact Report and accompanying financial statements allow us to track our progress against that goal.
It’s also an opportunity to step back, reflect upon, and celebrate all we’ve accomplished together over the past year. Looking back, I’m incredibly impressed by all we’ve accomplished as a co-op.
We posted a record $3.85 billion in revenue in 2022, coming off an impressive year for both revenue and profit growth in 2021. Financially, 2022 was a year of significant investment for the co-op—some planned as we entered the year, while other investments were made as a result of changing market conditions and in service to our people and values. Throughout 2022, we invested in our people, in our capabilities, and in the communities we serve. We invested in membership with new and enhanced offerings and held fast to our commitment to distributing our full Co-op Member Reward to more than 23 million members during a year without profits to fund it. As a co-op, we are in the fortunate position to be able to make long-term choices and investments like this, but we do not do so lightly. We remain focused on a path back to sustainable profitability for the co-op to ensure a healthy long-term future.
We invested heavily in our employees, with a focus on improving their daily lives. We launched The Way Forward, a new commitment to ensuring we’re creating a workplace where employees feel heard, feel supported and can thrive. Through The Way Forward, we’re working directly with hourly employees throughout the co-op and listening to their feedback to inform our approach to improve pay and benefits, develop new career tracks, and improve communication between working teams.
How big of an investment did we make in our employees? We put an additional $50 million toward pay raises for hourly employees and delivered another $92 million toward employee retirement and bonuses. Combined, that’s the largest single-year investment the co-op has ever made in employee compensation. We also introduced the REI Access Plan—an unprecedented and industry-leading new benefits offering to provide access to medical coverage for every employee who needs it, regardless of hours worked.
We made significant strides toward making our co-op a fully inclusive, anti-racist, multicultural organization. Over 81% of our employees reported feeling like their leaders take a genuine interest in their humanity and well-being, with 78% of Black, Indigenous and people of color reporting feeling a sense of belonging in the workplace in our 2022 engagement survey, results which place us in the top 20% of employers. We increased participation in our Inclusion Networks (our employee resource groups) by 14% since 2020, and we increased our overall BIPOC employee representation to 25.9% in 2022. We introduced training to mitigate bias in hiring, facilitated monthly Cultural Milestone conversations, and committed to launching The Co-op Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Learning Series, a program that will impact every one of our over 16,000 employees nationwide.
Seven years after we first invited the world to #OptOutside on Black Friday, we made a permanent commitment to close our doors every year going forward and instead pay every REI employee to enjoy time outside with the people they love in the places they love.
We made similarly groundbreaking changes for our members as well, reimagining the benefits of joining the co-op for the first time in our 84-year history. New membership benefits include exclusive gear collections, free shipping, the ability to buy and trade in used gear through our Re/Supply program, discounts on shop services and rentals, access to our member sales, and, of course, the ability to earn money back from the co-op through our annual Co-op Member Reward.
Our new membership benefits have drawn even more people to our co-op. We added 1.3 million members in 2022—welcoming them into a community of 23 million lifetime REI Co-op Members. And we gave back to those members, distributing $224 million in Co-op Member Reward.
With more members, comes more power in our fight to build a more equitable and sustainable future for all. More than 78,000 members of the REI community have helped us advocate for climate action, outdoor equity and the stewardship of the public lands we love by engaging in the REI Cooperative Action Network. Together, we’ve sent more than 250,000 messages to decision-makers at state and national levels, helping to pass three historic laws that tackle the climate crisis and make the outdoors a more equitable place to recreate.
We continued our work to reduce our climate impact and are pushing harder than ever for government policies that move toward the goal of keeping global average temperatures within 1.5*C of pre-industrial levels. This past year was our third consecutive where we have been climate neutral in our operations and 10th consecutive where we have been powered by 100% renewable electricity.
In its inaugural year, REI Path Ahead Ventures delivered on its commitment to accelerate the success of founders of color in the outdoor industry, partnering with 39 founders, providing $2.7M in grants and investment while creating a network of over 250 speakers, mentors, advisers, and investors.
Finally, we made $6.9 million in contributions to 503 nonprofit partners across the country, supporting organizations that share our vision of a more inclusive outdoor community. The REI Cooperative Action Fund, a separate public charity to which REI Co-op is the founder and lead donor, donated an additional $2.9 million to 31 nonprofits during its first 18 months of operations.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment; to focus either on what’s right in front of you or what’s coming next. And while I remain incredibly excited about our future, I want to celebrate what we achieved in 2022.
Thank you for your contributions to the co-op, to your local communities, and to our society at large. I can’t wait to see what we can do together in the years ahead.
President & CEO, REI Co-op