REI Co-op: Sustainable production & consumption

REI Co-op is a different kind of company. We were founded 81 years ago by a community of 23 climbing friends in search of better outdoor gear. Being a co-op means we work together, with our members, to create a sustainable future for REI and to have a positive impact on the things that we’re passionate about as a community. We put purpose before profits and act with the long-term interests of our members in mind, reinvesting nearly 70 percent of our profits each year into the outdoor community.

We believe responsible production and consumption comes down to three things: making quality, long-lasting gear and apparel, manufacturing that gear and apparel as sustainably as possible, and ensuring the lifespan of every piece of gear and item of clothing is maximized.

Quality goods and expertise

REI Co-op is known for quality goods and expertise. Our gear and apparel is designed to last – for the long-term. We seek to provide our members with great gear that stands the test of time. 

For example, the REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket is one of our most popular products, with more than 80,000 jackets sold in 2018 alone. It is durable, produced with bluesign® materials that minimize environmental impact, and retails for less than $100. It’s designed to last for a long time so you don’t need to replace it, and its durability can extend to a second or third owner.

Sustainable supply chains

The gear we design, develop and merchandise represents both our greatest impact on the planet, and our greatest opportunity for advancing sustainable business practices. We push ourselves, our partners and broader industry to advance responsible production and consumption.

We’re committed to ensuring that our products are made in a manner that respects workers and the environment. It begins with a safe, fair and nondiscriminatory working environment for both our own employees and those manufacturing our products.

We also seek to minimize the impact of our products on the natural environment. That’s why the co-op established product sustainability standards that all brands and products sold at the co-op must meet. We made it easier for customers to find products that align with their values by searching for specific sustainability traits.

Rentals and re-commerce

One of the most impactful ways to reduce the environmental impact of a given product is to ensure that it has the longest lifespan possible. At REI that means helping customers find and sell quality pre-loved gear, and building a robust gear rental business to create more access to quality gear. 

Maximizing a product’s life is one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact. It also improves outdoor experiences and reduces financial costs. That’s a win-win-win in our book. Every year, we save close to 1 million pieces of gently used gear from landfills through our online Used Gear platform and through our in-store Garage Sales. In addition, the average product offered through our Used Gear platform costs roughly a third of the same product purchased new.

Our gear rental program gives customers an affordable way to try out a new activity or use a pay-as-you-play model whenever they get the urge to go outside. By making rentals available where there is demand, we give people an affordable way to try out the gear they need for hiking, backpacking, camping, paddling, skiing, snowshoeing and mountaineering—while minimizing financial cost and environmental impact.