Two men planting a tree.

Stewardship at REI: Reflected in its Communities, Operations, Products and Workplace

Apr 24, 2014

To REI, stewardship is how the company acts on its love for the outdoors. These actions include taking care of outdoor spaces, operating its business to improve its environmental footprint, addressing the impact of its products and creating a rewarding workplace for its employees.

Now in its eighth year, REI’s annual stewardship report details the national retailer’s progress in corporate social responsibility in: Community, Sustainable Operations, Product Sustainability and Workplace. Highlights from this year’s report include:

Investing in Outdoor Places

Over the last decade, REI granted more than $35 million to care for outdoor places and programs through the co-op’s corporate grants program and The REI Foundation. In 2013, the retailer gave $3 million to more than 230 local and nonprofit organizations to maintain and enhance local parks, trails, rivers, crags, waterways and beaches. In addition, The REI Foundation donated $462,500 to connect younger and more diverse groups with nature.

Operating its Business Responsibly

Energy use is one of REI’s largest impacts on the climate, and the company has committed to having all of its electricity come from clean renewable sources. With 26 solar electric systems generating energy and a strong program to invest in energy efficiency, REI also buys certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) as part of its strategy to green the energy that powers the co-op’s stores, distribution centers, and headquarters. In 2013, REI purchased 54,959 Green-E certified RECs from a wind farm in Notrees, Texas.

Since 2008, REI opened 36 new retail stores while maintaining flat energy use. The co-op will continue to invest in energy efficiency and seek out renewable sources of energy.

Advancing Product Sustainability

The impacts of REI’s products are examined throughout their lifecycle, from design to end-of-use. In 2013 the company committed to using only 100 percent bluesign® certified fabrics in its REI-brand apparel by 2018. The bluesign system works to prevent chemicals of concern from entering into materials at each step of the manufacturing process. Approximately 25 percent of fabrics used in REI brand products to date are bluesign certified.

Creating a Great Workplace

REI’s commitment to provide a meaningful, fun and fulfilling workplace for more than 10,000 employees has helped the retailer be named one of FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" for 17 years in a row. This work is reflected in the retailer’s comprehensive pay and benefits programs, and engaged employee base.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 188 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.