REI was founded by 23 climbing friends who believed that a life outdoors is a life well lived. From those origins, we know great things happen when people join together in pursuit of a common purpose. Wherever possible, we collaborate with partners in our industry and beyond to impact the world for good.
As the COVID-19 pandemic drove record numbers of Americans to parks and trails, public health challenges arose at trailheads and in gateway towns. REI, along with the Washington Trails Association and dozens of partners, in May assembled a set of core principles for enjoying time outside while staying safe. Originally intended for distribution in our home state, the #Recreate-Responsibly Coalition had seven statewide chapters and over 1,000 nonprofit, for profit and governmental members by the end of the year.
Partnering through the pandemic
REI remained dedicated to philanthropy in 2020, making donations worth more than $6 million to over 450 nonprofit partners. The co-op even generated additional support, asking our members and the broader community to support non-profits in need via the Outdoor Emergency Fund. We also partnered with HealthEquip to provide funding for a PPE donation and exchange platform.
The co-op believes partnerships are most effective when all parties share the same long-term objectives and work to advance the interests of society at large.
Partnerships to Advance Product and Supply Chain Sustainability
REI scours the world to bring the best outdoor gear and apparel to our members. In the context of those global supply chains, the co-op is relatively small. But through strategic partnerships with leading organizations, we're able to create positive impacts far beyond our size. REI has been a driving force behind some of the most impactful multi-stakeholder initiatives, bringing together both global retailers and small specialty brands to help address the most challenging social and environmental issues in the supply chains and communities we all share.
REI is a founding member of this industry-leading forum composed of more than 75 outdoor industry brands, suppliers, manufacturers and other stakeholders. The Climate Action Corps is a forum where companies report greenhouse gas emissions, establish reduction plans, and collaborate to tackle shared challenges in the supply chain. The forum serves as a source of best practices for the REI Co-op & Co-op Cycles brands and as a key platform for sharing experiences with other brands retailed by REI. Learn more here.
REI has been a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) since its inception, helping evolve tools created in the outdoor industry and scale them across the global footwear and apparel markets. The centerpiece of the SAC is the Higg Index, a suite of groundbreaking assessment tools that empower brands, retailers and manufacturers to measure their environmental and social impacts at each stage of the value chain. REI uses the Higg Index with our own brands and is encouraging its adoption across our leading brand partners. Learn more here.
This nonprofit organization was founded to inspire and equip people to accelerate more sustainable practices in the textile value chain. Originally focused on organic cotton, Textile Exchange (TE) has become one of the industry's leading sources of material sustainability knowledge and traceability standards. REI has worked with TE to better understand the environmental impact of our supply chains. We have also partnered to create, pilot and launch material traceability standards that now serve as the foundation for many of the most common consumer-facing labels. Learn more here.