Bad REI situation, any official response?
We just responded to a similar question on the Sustainable Living board about this story in the LA Times. Here is the response from that post:
'Thanks for reaching out about our recent partnership with Ford. We agree that how this partnership was marketed was misaligned. We don’t always get it right, but are committed to ensure our marketing reflects our impact commitments moving forward. Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback.
The goal of our partnership with Ford was to create content where people could see themselves having an active lifestyle in the outdoors, in this case Sky Islands. That theme is common throughout the content we post on REI.com and share with the outdoor community.
REI recently published our annual Impact Report, where you can get a deep dive on all of our sustainability work. Of note, in September 2020 we unveiled our new climate platform which includes a 55% carbon footprint reduction (scopes 1-3) by 2035, as well as a commitment to carbon neutrality through credits beginning with 2020’s emissions.'
Additionally, as we considered working with Ford, as we do with any partner, we took into account how our companies have shared values around topics like climate change and racial equity. The Bronco return was introduced with the Wild Fund that encourages people to go deeper in the outdoors and protect public lands. The effort includes nonprofits that we have invested in. Ford’s climate efforts are part of their 2021 sustainability and financial report.
Alongside our own recently published impact report (linked above), we also launched Cooperative Action: an initiative where members, employees and outdoor community are invited to participate in grassroots efforts to raise visibility to the need of a more sustainable future. We also recently updated our Product Impact Standards, which include expectations for how REI and our more than 1,000 vendor partners are addressing carbon reduction, inclusive marketing practices and cultural designs in products. As part of these standards, all REI Co-op brand products are now certified Climate Neutral in addition to products from over 30 other certified brands.
Hopefully this provides some additional context, thanks!
Thanks for your timely reply!
I am concerned about the credits you mention in relation to the climate platform.
Many groups have concerns about the carbon markets and the use of credits / offsets and other financial methods related to carbon. Please see and if possible, pass on this report from FOE - International to REI decision-makers:
Again, thanks for your reply I appreciate it.
@Joe thanks for sharing your concern about carbon markets and credits/offsets with us - we have already passed your feedback along to our sustainability team.
We heard back from our sustainability team and wanted to share a few details:
We believe there are three key elements for organizations attempting to address the climate crisis: accounting for their emissions today, reducing their emissions tomorrow, and advocating for a clean future.
At the co-op, we are focused on all three elements. Reducing carbon emissions is the most important component of our climate strategy, and our target is aligned with the best science available. While we work to reduce future emissions, we also believe that we should be held responsible for the carbon we emit today—that's why we've invested in carbon credits.
We continue to cast a critical eye on the voluntary carbon credit markets. (In fact, REI participated in the market in its early days and paused for a few years to allow the market and methodologies to mature.) While there is still room for improvement, we believe that participating is better than doing nothing. We’d go so far as to argue that companies have a responsibility to engage in these markets. The more companies get involved, the more due diligence is applied and the more the quality of the credits will improve.
Offsets alone are not the answer. We are working to reduce future emissions by transforming our operations, supply chains, and how we serve our customers in getting outside. We are also advocating for local, state, and federal policies that speed the transition to a green economy.
If you’d like to learn more about the specific projects we support, you can find a detailed breakdown in the Climate Neutrality section of our Stewardship site.