Outdoor retailer REI bolsters its climate leadership with an ambitious new set of science-based net-zero targets.
Specialty outdoor retailer REI Co-op has scaled up its commitment to combating climate change. With its goals given the nod by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), REI’s renewed aspirations spotlight the necessity of united efforts against the impending climate crisis.
Chris Speyer, Chief Merchandising Officer at REI, underlined the role of businesses in this endeavor. “We believe businesses have an urgent responsibility to address the climate crisis and invest in the communities in which they operate,” he said in a statement. “The co-op is proud to retail a huge number of brands that share this sense of responsibility, and we will continue collaborating with our partners to reduce our collective impacts.”
REI’s immediate target entails a reduction of its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 47 percent by 2030, using 2019 as the baseline. Additionally, by 2025, REI anticipates that 41 percent of its suppliers, in terms of emissions, will align with science-based targets. Fast-forwarding to 2050, the co-op pledges a 90 percent reduction in its scopes 1,2, and 3 emissions from the 2019 base year, with the overarching aim of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its operations by the same year.
To assist partners in adapting to these rigorous standards, REI has been proactively hosting workshops throughout 2023. These sessions provide invaluable insights into emissions measurement, setting science-aligned reduction targets, and initiating plans for emissions mitigation. Further, in collaboration with Climate Neutral, select brand partners have been offered access to the Business Emissions Evaluator tool, facilitating an effortless and efficient evaluation of their environmental footprint.
Emphasizing the co-op’s dedication to renewable energy, REI inked a three-year clean energy deal with Sol Systems, which also incorporates Nester Hosiery, one of REI’s prominent U.S. manufacturers. As Kelly Nester, CEO of Nester Hosiery LLC, highlighted, “Purchasing clean energy to make our electricity consumption 100% renewable sends a strong message to our employees, customers, suppliers, investors and local community about our priorities. We’re acknowledging our impact and—with the help of REI—investing in a more sustainable operation.”
The partnership guarantees both REI and Nester Hosiery over 11,000 renewable energy credits annually, all hailing from recently established solar projects in North Carolina.
Susanne Fratzscher, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at Sol Systems, celebrated the collaboration, noting, “We are honored to partner with REI and its supply chain partner Nester Hosiery to craft an innovative renewable energy procurement solution that enables both companies to meet critical climate goals over the next three years.”
Furthermore, REI’s influence isn’t just confined to the U.S. Aiming for a broader impact, the co-op secured a four-year strip of 25,000 RECs from distributed renewable energy projects across Southeast Asia via Powertrust. Additionally, as part of its advocacy for public policy favoring clean energy, REI has joined forces with global coalitions such as the Asia Clean Energy Coalition, CERES, and the Electrification Coalition.
Related on Ethos: