REI Knows no Boundaries
REI is a leading outdoor gear and apparel retailer that has been serving outdoor enthusiasts in the United States for over 70 years. Their passion for outdoor adventure is clear; in addition to selling outdoor gear and leading trips around the world, REI is a huge force in preserving the environment and partnering with like-minded nonprofit partners. What you may not know is that REI is the largest consumer cooperative in America, with 4.4 active million members. They continue to return a percentage of their profits to members through annual refunds based on member purchases.
Since the beginning, REI has been connecting with others to ensure the outdoors are accessible to everyone. When Lloyd Anderson, a mountaineer in the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s, went in search of a sturdy and reasonably priced ice axe, he had to send all the way to Austria to find one. After he got it, word spread, and soon he and his wife Mary and 21 of their climbing buddies founded the cooperative Recreational Equipment, Inc. to make it easier to get what they needed locally.
Cooperatives seek excellence in all aspects of their business, and REI has always been about quality and integrity. Their mission is to inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. REI’s emphasis on human-powered outdoor activity has led them to give generously to communities nationwide to preserve rivers, trails, and wild lands with grants, gear and volunteer sweat equity. This past year REI granted $4.2 million to nonprofits across the country that work to preserve and maintain natural spaces. The people at REI love what they are doing and it shows.
We love what REI is doing, too. We see the connection to preserving natural habitat and responsible agriculture, and how that impacts everyone’s quality of life. REI believes that businesses can have a voice in public policy to protect the environment, and by doing so REI is living the mission of the co-op and benefiting its members. That’s what co-ops do; all of our efforts combine to build a better world.
“At REI, we encourage our members and customers who enjoy the outdoors to play an active role in taking care of those places,” said Kevin Hagen, director of corporate social responsibility for REI. “We are honored to partner with hundreds of dedicated nonprofit organizations that share a similar mission and whose programs allow us to expand these efforts to trails, waterways and parks across the country.”