Retailer builds power of its community by investing in employees, members and major capital projects
SEATTLE, April 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — REI today released its 2022 Impact Report and financials results, closing the year with a record $3.85 billion in sales. The co-op ended the year with a strong liquidity and working capital position and continued to invest in its mission of investing in its members, employees, and the outdoors.
“I’m incredibly impressed by all we’ve accomplished as a co-op,” said Eric Artz, President and CEO, in a public letter released alongside the report. “Throughout 2022, we invested in our people, in our capabilities, and in the communities we serve. We invested in membership with new and enhanced offerings and held fast to our commitment to distributing our full Co-op Member Reward to more than 23 million members during a year without profits to fund it. As a co-op, we are in the fortunate position to be able to make long-term choices and investments like this, but we do not do so lightly. We remain focused on a path back to sustainable profitability for the co-op to ensure a healthy long-term future.”
Investing in the employee experience
In 2022, REI focused on investing in the employee experience. Often cited as a top place to work, the co-op remained committed to competitive pay and introduced new industry-leading benefits. In 2022, REI put an additional $50 million toward pay raises for hourly employees and delivered another $92 million toward employee retirement and bonuses. Combined, that’s the largest single-year investment the co-op has ever made in employee compensation. The co-op launched the REI Access Plan—an unprecedented new benefits offering to provide access to medical coverage for every employee who needs it, regardless of hours worked. REI also created The Way Forward, a new commitment to create a workplace where employees feel heard, feel supported, and can thrive.
The co-op closed the year with a bold commitment to #OptOutside forever—making a permanent commitment to close every Black Friday and instead to pay its employees to enjoy time outside.
REI continued to work toward its goal of becoming a fully inclusive, anti-racist, multicultural organization that better reflects the diverse communities it serves. Over 81% of employees reported feeling like their leaders take a genuine interest in their humanity and well-being, with 78% of Black, Indigenous and people of color reporting feeling a sense of belonging in the workplace, according to the co-op’s 2022 engagement survey, results which place REI in the top 20% of employers. The co-op increased participation in its Inclusion Networks (employee resource groups) by 14% since 2020, and increased its overall BIPOC employee representation to 25.9% in 2022. REI also introduced training to mitigate bias in hiring, facilitated monthly Cultural Milestone conversations, and committed to launching The Co-op Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Learning Series for all its employees.
Convening a network of advocates
Through direct advocacy programs like the Cooperative Action Network and advocacy alongside partners, REI embraced the power of its community to take action in 2022.
REI welcomed 1.3 million members in 2022, bringing its total member count to 23 million lifetime members. As REI works toward its goal of growing to a 50-million-member community, the co-op remains focused on strengthening its relationship with its membership, connecting more people to the power of the outdoors and engaging them in the fight to protect it. This mission is part of what led REI to relaunch its member platform for the first time in 84 years. The co-op also focused on giving back to its members—distributing nearly $224 million in Co-op Member Reward.
Last year, more than 78,000 REI members, employees, and customers used REI’s Cooperative Action Network to collectively support policies addressing the climate crisis and advancing a more just and inclusive outdoors. The network has sent over 250,000 messages to decision-makers at both the federal and state level and made a lasting impact by helping pass the Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund and spearheading the Your Vote Can’t Wait initiative.
The co-op made $6.9 million in contributions to 503 nonprofit partners across the country, supporting organizations that share our vision of a more inclusive outdoor community.
The co-op also continued to support the REI Cooperative Action Fund, a separate 501(c)(3) organization that allows members, employees, and the public to contribute to a broad network of nonprofit organizations creating a more equitable outdoors. The Fund issued its inaugural annual report in late 2022, showing donations of nearly $2.9 million in unrestricted funds to 31 nonprofits aligned with its mission during its first 18 months of operation. In the Fund’s founding fiscal years, REI’s total support for the charity’s operations and grantmaking amounted to more than $4.4 million.
“We continued to build the power of our community, engaging employees and members in the fight to provide a more equitable and sustainable future for all,” said Wilma Wallace, Chief Diversity and Social Impact Officer. “Creating a more accessible outdoors, and keeping our favorite places well-stewarded, is a collective effort that requires leadership and collaboration at all levels—local, state, and national. REI is committed to investing in this approach.”
Building an inclusive outdoor industry
REI is taking a holistic approach to working together with employees, members, industry, and community partners to equip and inspire every person with what they need to find joy and meaning outdoors.
One way the co-op is working toward that goal is by embedding inclusive, community-centered design practices into processes across the enterprise. The co-op designs offerings with and for historically excluded communities through intentional partnerships, customer insights, and research, and integration of these voices upstream in the design processes.
As part of this work, REI collaborated with Outdoor Afro, Inc. in 2022 to co-create a hike collection that celebrates Black joy in nature and solves unmet needs in outdoor apparel. Working closely with members of the Black community to understand outdoor product needs, REI and Outdoor Afro, Inc. developed a 22-piece hike collection that brings more inclusive design to the forefront. The collection includes fit options that consider a wider range of body types, shapes, and sizes, and new colors and graphics that embrace a desire for personal expression.
REI also continued investing in Path Ahead Ventures, which offers full-spectrum support to startups owned and led by founders of color. In its inaugural year, REI Path Ahead Ventures delivered on its commitment to accelerate the success of founders of color in the outdoor industry, partnering with 39 founders, providing $2.7M in grants and investment while creating a network of over 250 speakers, mentors, advisers, and investors.
“The outdoors should be a place where everyone can feel welcome to be themselves, access opportunities, and connect with their community—no matter who they are, where they live, or what they love to do,” said Wilma Wallace. “Unfortunately, that’s not true for everyone today. To close this gap, we must do a better job as an industry and an outdoor community to reflect the various ways people find joy and meaning outside.”
In addition to its work with Outdoor Afro, Inc. and Path Ahead Ventures, REI continued building multifaceted experiential partnerships with dozens of organizations and leaders working toward a more inclusive outdoor community. New partnerships in 2022 included: All Bodies on Bikes, National Brotherhood of Skiers, Native Women Running, Trail Mixed Collective, and Vasu Sojitra.
Fighting the climate crisis
In 2022, REI celebrated a decade of powering its operations with 100% renewable electricity. With this milestone, the co-op made a groundbreaking commitment to source locally generated renewable energy for all 181 of its stores. With this new commitment, REI aims to make local renewable energy accessible to more people and organizations, helping cut emissions and bringing the benefits of clean energy to more communities.
“Climate change is an existential threat to life outside. We do not have the luxury to dismiss it as a political issue; it’s a human issue,” said Kate Wendt, Vice President of Strategy, Transformation and Sustainability. “As a member-owned outdoor cooperative, it’s critical to use our business and voice to fight collectively for the long-term health of the planet and our community. By working with communities and utilities across the U.S. to ensure that renewable energy is more local and more accessible, we’re maximizing our impact and removing the barriers to access faced by small businesses and communities.”
The co-op continued its commitment to climate neutrality for its directly controlled operations, investing in carbon credits equivalent to over 320,000 metric tons of CO2eq through innovative partnerships ranging from forestry in North America with the Family Forest Carbon Program to clean cookstoves in Africa with BioLite.
REI is on track toward its goal to become the first national retailer to achieve zero waste by 2025, diverting 84% of its operational waste from landfills this past year. The company also received a 2022 FSC Leadership Award for supporting responsible forest management and forest conservation.
Full audited financials for 2022 are available here. Explore additional details of the co-op’s impact at link.
2022 by the numbers:
- $3.85 billion in revenue
- Invested $92.3 million in employee retirement and performance incentives
- Distributed $223.7 million to members through Co-op Member Reward
- Invested $6.9 million in more than 503 nonprofit partners
- Additional $2.9 million donated to 31 nonprofits by the REI Cooperative Action Fund during FY’21 and FY’22
- Opened five new stores, expanded to one new state (Nebraska)
- 78,000 members in Cooperative Action Network, 250,000 messages sent to decision makers
- Passed one bill through the Cooperative Action Network
- Achieved climate neutrality through offsetting 320,300 metric tons of CO2eq
About the REI Co-op
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 21.5 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.