Transforming our Co-op for the Future

Message from Eric Artz, REI President and CEO

 

Today marks the release of REI’s 2021 impact report and financial results—a time for us to reflect on our journey, celebrate our accomplishments and look ahead to the future.   

By any measure, 2021 was a success. Our employees and co-op team and our partners rose to meet every challenge, from the ongoing pandemic to persistent supply chain disruptions, working together toward a common vision. Our members continued to turn to REI to help support the desire to spend more time outside. And their loyalty to our business enables us to continue investing in the communities we serve.  

We closed the year with $3.7 billion in revenue, an increase of 36% compared to 2020. We added a record 1.4 million members in 2021—welcoming them into a community of 21.5 million lifetime co-op members—and opened eight new stores. We also delivered historic returns for REI’s community of employees, members and nonprofit partners. The co-op distributed a record $234 million in member rewards—more than double last year’s—and invested $128.9 million in employee profit sharing, retirement and performance incentives—more than triple last year’s. The co-op invested another $7.1 million in more than 450 nonprofit partners working to address industry inequities and protect the planet. 

While we’re thrilled with our 2021 financials, we’re also grappling with the reality that we must stay committed to the work to transform this 84-year-old co-op for a new era and a new generation of members. As a co-op we have the freedom, and the responsibility, to build our own future—a model that satisfies the core needs of our employees, members and communities. A model that harnesses the power of a co-op, with millions of members working to provide a more equitable and sustainable future for all.  

We are committed to increasing diversity and equity within our co-op and within the outdoor community. We will work to create economic opportunity for Black, Indigenous, Latino/a/x and AAPI-owned and led companies. We will continue our efforts to decouple our business growth from our carbon footprint by embracing the circular economy and engaging our members in Re/Supply, which has the potential to grow into the largest marketplace for quality used gear. 

Our vision is that by 2030, we will grow to 50 million members, each of whom is fully engaged in the fight for life outside and expand the impact we’re already making on society. We will continue to make significant investments in our people, our offerings and our capabilities to transform every aspect of our business to make our vision a reality by the end of the decade.  

Finally, we will reset the bar for what employees should expect from a purpose-driven employer. Time and again, REI has been recognized as a great place to work and we’ve long prided ourselves on the experience and opportunity we provide for every employee. But the last few years have disrupted every aspect of our work experience, affecting us all in different and often deeply personal ways. We've kicked off a new body of work to reimagine the employee experience for our hourly employees and to ensure we’re creating a workplace where all employees feel heard, feel supported and can thrive.  

We will continue to invest, to work toward and to invite more people into our vision for the future—one guided by the values of a co-op. Let’s step boldly into this moment, together.  

Join us. 

-Eric Artz
President & CEO, REI Co-op