REI Co-op will begin requiring its brands and suppliers to offer extended clothing sizes at comparable prices as part of an updating of its ethical practices.
The outdoor apparel and gear retailer has set a new benchmark to advance more sustainable and inclusive business practices in the retail industry, releasing new standards for its 1,000-plus brand partners to advance social and environmental practices.
It is the third evolution of REI’s Product Impact Standards, which were introduced in 2018 and updated in 2020 and are designed to give customers the assurance that products purchased at REI are contributing to a more sustainable and equitable outdoor industry.
The new version builds upon the existing standards, while elevating expectations in key areas such as fighting climate change and advancing inclusion in the outdoors.
The standards apply to every product the co-op carries. The updated standards include the following:
•New expectations to advance equity across outdoor gear and apparel, specifically regarding price equity across size ranges, inclusive sizing and inclusive offerings for diverse hair types. (The standards on inclusive sizing go into effect for brands in spring 2024; the headwear requirements go into effect in 2025.)
“Price differences for apparel based on size contribute to a poor customer experience and limits the industry’s ability to meet customer needs,” REI stated.
In addition to extended sizing, REI will also expect that brands have inclusive guidelines in place for marketing assets, photo casting and production that ensure diverse
and inclusive representation across race, age, gender identity/expression, body size/type and disability.
“Content supplied to REI by influencers and affiliate media, as well as photgraphy, marketing copy and other other content should reflect the same inclusive representative,” the company said.
•Elevated expectations requiring brands to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and set emissions reduction targets. REI has formally committed to its own emissions reduction target via the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
Updated chemicals management expectations, in part to ensure wide industry alignment with new state laws regarding the use of per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). The full updated standards can be viewed here.
“The standards keep the co-op and over 1,000 of our brand partners accountable as we address the issues that are most important to our community,” said Chris Speyer, VP of product. “The products we carry represent our greatest opportunities to support better ways of doing business. We want our members and customers to know the products they purchase at REI are helping to build a better retail industry.”
REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia.