REI Co-op commits to growing local renewable energy capacity, increasing community access
March 30, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO (Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands) — This week, REI Co-op committed to advancing the renewable energy transition through the use of locally generated solar and wind projects to power the company’s nearly 200 U.S.-based store locations. The announcement marks the company’s 10th anniversary of powering its stores, distribution centers, and offices with renewable electricity.
“Plenty of fashion brands have made commitments to 100% renewable energy for their stores or offices, but the majority of these promises are fundamentally greenwashing initiatives, since they often rely on energy certificates that do not actually clean up the grid. This commitment by REI is different because it offers tangible growth in renewable energy capacity, delivering real-world benefits to local communities who will now have better access to clean energy,” said Rachel Kitchin, Corporate Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth.
In addition to growing the specialty outdoor retailer’s renewable energy capacity, REI’s commitment will deliver community benefits by working with utilities to offer renewable power programs to small- and medium-sized businesses, while simplifying the process of sourcing renewable energy for local communities.
“REI’s commitment should be replicated by all fashion retailers and brands. That said, stores and offices for companies like REI only account for approximately 5% of their total greenhouse gas emissions. Now, REI needs to bring this clean energy commitment to its entire supply chain, delivering these same benefits to the communities who live and work around its manufacturing facilities in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and China,” said Kitchin.
Stand.earth’s Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard released earlier this month finds that major fashion companies continue to rely on fossil fuels to manufacture their products while failing to decarbonize their supply chains. REI was graded a C- in the recent scorecard, reflecting strong commitments in its store operations but a need for more robust decarbonization initiatives in its supply chain.
Fashion is a multi-trillion dollar industry responsible for producing up to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions – generating more GHGs than all international flights and maritime shipping combined — and those emissions are expected to drastically increase by 2030.
The industry’s manufacturing processes disproportionately rely on coal and other fossil fuels, undermining climate stability while also causing a devastating impact on the health of supply chain workers and communities that are primarily located in Southeast Asia.
Shane Reese, Corporate Campaigns Media Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 919 339 3785 (Eastern Time)