Rei Sustainability Strategy and Innovation in the Outdoor Gear and Apparel Industry

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REI Sustainability Strategy and Innovation in the Outdoor Gear and Apparel Industry

1. What does "sustainability" mean at REI?
When we think of sustainability, we tend to gravitate towards the environment and our preservation of it. Even though that is/was one of REI’s main priorities, sustainability at REI has a couple of meanings. First and foremost it can be summed up by REI’s definition of Stewardship:
• Encourage the active conservation of nature.
• Inspire the responsible use and enjoyment of the outdoors.
• Enhance the natural world and our communities through responsible business practices.
• Foster opportunities to increase participation in human-powered outdoor recreation, with a focus on youth.
• Maintain REI as an
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When they first visited their plant in China and started asking their vendors to break out the cost of packaging, they must have thought that he was crazy. But by investing the time and energy to invent a new box for their bicycles, with the ultimate goal of creating a closed loop system that extended the life of materials and avoided toxic materials or processes, ultimately saved REI money (approximately $1.25 million) by reducing packaging materials by 68%, while at the same time, influencing their counterparts in similar industries and solidifying their position as the industry leaders.

4. What should REI do next to sustain and amplify its sustainability strategy?
They say that getting to the top is usually easier than staying there…that the sequel is never as good as the original. With that in mind, I don’t expect REI to continue to reinvent the wheel but simply tweak it. Now that they have the blueprint of success, they are much more prepared to roll out this program for all of their product lines. Knowing that REI’s mountain bikes are only 10% of their total bicycle sales, they still have a lot of work to do in order to bring that up to 50% and ultimately 100%. While they can’t control all of their manufacturers/suppliers, they can have a huge influence on them, which could ultimately have a huge impact on the environment. From there, as previously

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