REI Co-op pronounces bold new local weather platform
REI Co-op will more than halve its carbon footprint by 2030, join Climate Neutral and join the 1 Trillion Trees Initiative
REI Co-op has announced that it will fulfill a 14-year commitment to carbon neutrality in its business activities in 2020 and has launched an ambitious new climate platform with which the cooperative will more than halve its carbon footprint over the next ten years – even if the company's future anticipates growth in size and revenue.
“The climate crisis is the greatest threat to the future of outdoor living and REI's business. Science knows what we need to do as a society to change this future. The world needs to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, so REI – and the wider outdoor community – must take the lead, ”said Eric Artz, President and CEO of REI Co-op. "In the future, we will incorporate the effects of business activity and costs into our business model."
For more than 80 years, REI has concentrated its work on the interface between people and the planet. The cooperative has been actively working to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions since 2006 when then-CEO Sally Jewell stated that REI would be carbon neutral by 2020.
The cooperative was one of the first retailers to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions. Over the years, she has prioritized projects such as green building certifications, generating her own energy from solar panels, and implementing industry-wide sustainability standards for all products sold. and invested more than $ 100m / £ 77.6m in managing outdoor areas that can aid recovery but also enable critical carbon sequestration.
The announcement is a stepping stone into the next phase of this work. Starting with 2020 emissions, the cooperative is officially joining Climate Neutral and will hold itself financially responsible for every unit of carbon it emits in its own operations – an expected quarter of a million tons of carbon in 2020.
In order to run a healthy business, the cooperative must continue to reduce its footprint in the future. As a retailer, the cooperative's broader presence includes not only its own brands and operations, but also the emissions contained in products from more than 1,000 brands sold. REI will work with this diverse group of brands, mostly small businesses, to develop common solutions.
As the cooperative works to reduce that footprint as much as possible, it will invest in solutions and advocate for solutions that will help the cooperative – and the planet – accelerate progress. That means investing in projects that actively pull carbon from the atmosphere, such as planting more trees in cities and suburbs, reforestation, and active forest management; and advocate for national strategies to reduce future emissions such as cleaner transport infrastructure and clean energy solutions.
As a cooperative, REI builds on the strength to unite for a common goal. As is often the case in the past, the cooperative will share progress transparently and offer what it learns as open source.
As the cooperative works to reduce its footprint, it will continue to pursue recycled materials with a lower impact in their manufacture, efficiency in their supply chain, removing excess packaging for themselves and their brand partners, and opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects. It needs to review every aspect of its business and invest in natural climate solutions to offset the carbon it can't yet break down.
REI is also committed to planting 1 billion trees by 2030 as part of the global 1 Billion Trees initiative that aims to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees worldwide over the next decade. And the cooperative has launched a new advocacy platform outlining its climate policy priorities for 2021 and beyond.
The cooperative's approach is based on scientific evidence and aligns with the latest guidelines from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that global emissions must be reduced by 55% by 2030 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
"I still believe that as people, as brands, and as a member-owned cooperative, we can and must work together to make a difference to the long-term health of the planet," wrote Artz. "We must act now for the following generations."