REI Saves The World One Acre At A Time

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on September 8, 2009 9:40 pm

REI, one of the greatest companies in the industry,  published its annual Stewardship Report today.  The third annual report highlights the Co-op’s social and environmental efforts. The report is available online at  Is there a business with as much soul as this one? 

How does a business as big as REI have such a steady stream of caring staffers?  It starts at the top.  When they put this much effort into doing things right, it trickles down into the staff and everybody wants to do the right thing.  Go to any REI and ask about anything.  There is nearly a 100% chance you will find a knowledgeable and concerned staffer wanting to help.  It is amazing how many other businesses haven’t figured this out.

REI aims to be carbon-neutral and report zero waste-to-landfill by 2020. The company also dedicates time to increasing outdoor participation among youth.  “REI’s stewardship report is an important part of our commitment to share our progress and opportunities with our employees, members and communities,” said Sally Jewell, REI’s president and CEO. “While we are proud of our accomplishments, we embrace the challenges that remain on the long path ahead.”

Check out some of these stats:


  • 14,481 acres of land and 6,520 miles of trail maintained through the co-op’s investment in conservation and recreation nonprofits.
  • 1,573,138 volunteer hours donated through the “sweat equity” of 130,347 individuals through REI’s nonprofit support.
  • 182,834 youth learned how to recreate outdoors responsibly through the Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids (PEAK) program via REI’s partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.


  • LEED Gold certification for REI’s Boulder, Colo. store and a second green building prototype store in Round Rock, Texas, featuring solar panels and forward-thinking lighting, materials and design strategies.
  • 85.1 percent of all paper purchased from “acceptable sources” according to REI’s paper policy, including 25.6 percent that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • Recycling 84.8 percent of the operational waste generated, such as cardboard, wooden pallets, cans and bottles.


  • An 86 percent employee engagement score through the company-wide annual survey, underscoring REI’s ranking as #12 on the FORTUNE magazine “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list.
  • A new recruiting strategy to ensure REI’s staff is reflective of the diversity of its communities.
  • 95 percent of the dollar value of REI-brand products had a third-party factory audit under the co-op’s compliance program to ensure factories manufacturing REI products provide appropriate working environments.

A group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers in need of quality equipment founded the co-op in 1938.  REI carries many ski products including hard and soft goods and plenty of snowboard gear

.  Additionally, REI runs outdoor schools at various locations, providing members with real life instruction in mountain sport disciplines such as skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking.

Big high five from The Ski Channel for being such a noble citizen and role model for all businesses!

FACT:  yes it’s true, most staff members at The Ski Channel work in the dark to save energy.  We don’t yet hang with REI, but we are trying!