REI is completing a 14-year commitment to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations.
The specialty outdoor apparel and gear retailer said it will reach its goal of carbon-neutral operations, initially set in 2006, by the end of 2020. REI is also launching a new climate platform designed to more than halve its carbon footprint over the next decade, even as the company anticipates future growth in size and revenue.
In addition, beginning with 2020’s emissions, the retailer is formally joining carbon emissions non-profit Climate Neutral and will hold itself financially accountable for each unit of carbon it emits in its own operations, expected to be 250,000 tons in 2020.
REI has also committed to planting 1 million trees by 2030 as part of the global 1 Trillion Trees Initiative, which aims to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees around the world over the next decade. And the co-op has published a new advocacy platform outlining its climate policy priorities for 2021 and beyond.
REI will work with the third-party brands it sells, mostly small businesses, to create shared solutions to reduce emissions embedded in their products. The company will also participate in projects that actively pull carbon out of the atmosphere, like planting more trees in cities and suburbs, reforestation and active forest management; and advocating for nationwide policies that reduce future emissions, like cleaner transportation infrastructure and clean energy solutions.
In addition, REI says it will continue to pursue recycled and lower impact materials in its manufacturing, efficiencies in its supply chain, the elimination of excess packaging for itself and its brand partners and opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects, and invest in natural climate solutions to offset the carbon it’s not yet able to draw down.
“The climate crisis is the greatest threat to the future of life outdoors and to REI’s business,” said REI Co-op president and CEO Eric Artz. “The science is clear about what we, as a society, need to do to change that future. The world must halve its greenhouse gasses emissions by 2030, so that’s where REI – and the broader outdoor community – must lead,” “Going forward, we’re embedding the impact of doing business, and the cost, into our business model.”
REI has actively worked to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions since 2006, when then-CEO Sally Jewell said that REI would be climate neutral in its operations by 2020. The co-op was one of the first retailers to measure and report its greenhouse gas emissions, and over the years has prioritized projects like green building certifications, generated its own energy through solar arrays, launched industry-wide sustainability standards for all products sold, and invested more than $100 million into stewarding outdoor spaces.
REI has 167 stores in 39 states and the District of Columbia, as well as an e-commerce site, outlet site, and shopping app.