National outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) today released its sixth annual stewardship report. The report details the company’s efforts to address its operational impact on the environment, protect outdoor natural spaces, and provide an inclusive and rewarding workplace.
“As part of REI’s core purpose, stewardship is present in individual employee actions, woven into our interactions with vendors, and used as a filter for our strategic and financial planning,” said Kevin Hagen, REI’s director of corporate social responsibility. “Our focus on the metrics of environmental and social performance helps us see opportunities we might have missed before. Using that lens results in both reduced impacts and better financial results.”
REI publishes a stewardship report to be transparent and accountable in its social and environmental efforts with co-op members, customers, communities, employees and others. The sixth annual report covers metrics and actions for 2011 for its headquarters, 122 stores, two distribution centers and aspects of its supply chain manufacturing. The content is structured into three sections: Sustainable Operations, Community and Workplace. Highlights include:
- A 3 percent increase from 2010 in REI’s overall absolute climate impact, but less than the company’s overall growth of 8.4 percent (by sales)
- A decrease in REI’s operational waste, led by recycling efforts in its distribution centers in Sumner, Wash. and Bedford, Pa.
- Twelve new solar power generating installations, bringing REI’s continued investment to 23 stores and one distribution center
- The lowest use of paper and virgin fiber since REI began reporting in 2007
- $4.48 million in corporate giving granted to more than 330 local and national nonprofits that share REI’s commitment to care for the great outdoors. The result was 3.4 million volunteer hours to protect and maintain natural spaces and recreational areas
- More than 540 REI-sponsored conservation projects, including 35,990 volunteers and 137,089 hours of “sweat equity” on trails, parks, and waterways
- $445,850 provided by The REI Foundation to nine nonprofits helping to get more young people into nature
- A highly engaged workforce and record low turnover of 26.6 percent, compared to the average retail industry rate of 63 percent
- Ranked eighth in FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” list
- Training 600 retail store management employees to sustain and expand REI’s respectful and inclusive workplace and shopping experience – the single largest investment ever made in a retail training
- The audit of 21 percent of REI’s branded supply chain to ensure that its products are manufactured and sourced ethically under safe and fair working conditions
REI issued its first report in 2006, which discussed social and environments efforts made during the 2005 calendar year. The co-op’s previous five stewardship reports are archived and maintained with open access for future reference at REI.com.