REI believes it is critical to not only reduce its own brands’ greenhouse gas emissions, but also the emissions embedded in the products from the more than 1,000 brands it sells

REI believes it is critical to not only reduce its own brands’ greenhouse gas emissions, but also the emissions embedded in the products from the more than 1,000 brands it sells

US outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI expects to complete a 14-year commitment to be carbon neutral in its operations in 2020 and has pledged to reducde its carbon footprint by 55% over the next decade.

The co-op has actively worked to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions since 2006 and claims to have been one of the first retailers to measure and report its greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, it has prioritised projects like green building certifications, generated its own energy through solar arrays, and launched industry-wide sustainability standards for all products sold.

"But none of that has been enough," said REI Co-op president and CEO Eric Artz in an open letter. "We've long challenged ourselves to be leaders in the sustainability space, and it's time once again to step up and lead. Going forward, we're embedding the environmental impact of doing business, and the cost, into our business model."

The company has committed to reducing both its own greenhouse gas emissions and the emissions embedded in the products of the more than 1,000 brands its sell, and transparently sharing its progress.

"No retailer has yet accomplished this, but we know what needs to get done, and most importantly, we believe we can do it," Artz added.

"As we work toward this goal, we'll invest in carbon credits to responsibly offset what we can't yet draw down on our own. Beginning with 2020's emissions, we are formally joining Climate Neutral. This is how we'll hold ourselves accountable. A promise to be carbon neutral means the co-op will effectively pay for each metric ton of carbon we emit from our own brands and operations. We will account for at least a quarter million tons of greenhouse gases emitted in our operations in 2020 alone.

"Going forward, running a healthy business will require us to continue reducing our carbon footprint."

Climate Neutral is an independent non-profit organisation which works to decrease global carbon emissions.

As REI works to reduce its footprint, it will continue to pursue recycled and lower impact materials in its manufacturing, efficiencies in its supply chain, the elimination of excess packaging for itself and its brand partners and opportunities to invest in renewable energy projects. It will have to reexamine every aspect of its business and will invest in natural climate solutions to offset the carbon it's not yet able to draw down.

It has also committed to planting 1mn trees by 2030 as part of the global 1 trillion Trees initiative, which aims to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees around the world over the next decade.

In addition, the co-op has published a new advocacy platform outlining its climate policy priorities for 2021 and beyond.