Environmental Sustainability at REI

By David Hoyt, Stefan Reichelstein
2011 | Case No. SM196
Environmental stewardship was part of REI’s culture since the company was founded, and integral to its corporate purpose. In 2005, REI began carefully measuring its environmental impact, establishing aggressive sustainability goals, and implementing programs to achieve these goals. The corporate social responsibility group, which oversaw the environmental sustainability program, took the approach that social and financial objectives should not be viewed as tradeoffs. For instance, growth objectives (increasing the number of stores and sales per store) should not come at the expense of energy consumption objectives for flat or decreasing corporate energy usage. Insisting that both objectives be met would lead to creating thinking and innovative solutions. The case describes the environmental stewardship program at REI, its objectives, and philosophy of implementation.
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