SEATTLE â€“ Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national co-op providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, released its fourth annual stewardship report, which details the company's progress to address its operational environmental impact, efforts to introduce people to nature and protect outdoor spaces, and performance in providing an inclusive and rewarding workplace.
REI's 2009 annual stewardship report, which is available online at www.rei.com/stewardship, demonstrates how the co-op implements stewardship, which is an element of REI's mission statement â€“ to â€œinspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.â€ The report illustrates thoughtful actions across the company â€“ REI's headquarters, 112 stores and two distribution centers â€“ to make business decisions through the lens of stewardship and identify opportunities that provide environmental benefits and cost savings.
â€œREI reflects its deep commitment to stewardship in how we care for the world where we all play, work and live, and how we connect people to nature,â€ said Kevin Hagen, REI's director of corporate social responsibility. â€œREI's 2009 report delivers on our desire to be transparent and accountable to our employees, members, customers and other stakeholders.â€
REI's 2009 stewardship report is divided into three sections: Community, Environment and People.
The Community section highlights REI's efforts to protect natural spaces by mobilizing volunteers through local programs, grants and nonprofit partnerships. Specific highlights include:
â€¢ 107,000 volunteer hours committed through 485 REI-hosted conservation projects and REI's support of nonprofits to help plant trees, restore trails, and clean parks and streams.
â€¢ $2 million in grants provided to more than 250 organizations with a focus on conservation and outdoor recreation.
â€¢ 110,858 youth taught â€œLeave No Traceâ€ ethics of outdoor recreation through the Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids (PEAK) program.
â€¢ 24,000 children participated in REI's Family Adventure program and experienced outdoor exploration, in many cases for the first time.
The Environment section highlights progress against its five environmental strategies, which include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable paper usage, reducing waste and optimizing recycling, green building and product stewardship. Specific highlights are:
â€¢ A reduction of its absolute climate impact by 10 percent from 2008.
â€¢ 18 percent of the co-op's total electricity usage provided through green power purchases and rooftop solar systems.
â€¢ LEEDÂ® Gold Certification for REI's Round Rock, Texas, Lincoln Park, Ill., and Boulder, Colo., stores.
â€¢ More than 300 REI-brand products received the ecoSensitive designation, which identifies gear and apparel made with a high percentage of recycled, rapidly renewable and/or organic fibers.
The People section highlights the co-op's work to create a welcoming and diverse workplace that values its employees as contributors to its ongoing success, and to ensure that its products are manufactured and sourced ethically under safe and fair working conditions. Specific highlights include:
â€¢ REI's annual survey results showed 87 percent of employees are positively engaged in the company's work and mission, outperforming global high performing companies.
â€¢ REI ranked 14th overall in Fortune magazine's 2010 â€œ100 Best Companies to Work forâ€ list.
â€¢ REI partnered in or sponsored more than 50 events in San Diego and Atlanta to help families and children from diverse communities make lasting connections with the outdoors.
â€¢ REI joined the Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC), a non-profit agency that uses collaborative technology to facilitate continuous improvement in social, environmental and security standards for workers at factories around the world. The co-op is using the system to better collaborate with vendors, reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.
In addition to efforts executed within the co-op's operations, REI places an emphasis on community partnerships and collaboration across the industry. For example, the co-op is more heavily involved in industry-wide efforts to address product stewardship through the Eco-Working Group led by the Outdoor Industry Association. Through this effort, REI has been able to learn from its peers, share its successes, and participate in efforts to help move the outdoor industry forward as a leader in stewardship.
In addition to the full report available online, a brochure can be downloaded or picked up in any REI retail store. REI also offers readers an online survey to provide feedback on the report and the company's progress.
REI issued its first report in 2007, which highlighted its social and environments efforts made during the 2006 calendar year, and established ongoing milestones, metrics, data and goals. The co-op's previous three stewardship reports are archived and maintained with open access for future reference.
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.