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REI Stewardship Report: GHG Emissions Down 10%

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has reduced its absolute climate impact by 10 percent from 111,000 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or C02e, to less than 100,000 tons C02e from 2008 levels, according to the company’s 2009 Stewardship Report.

REI’s 2009 stewardship report is divided into three sections: Community, Environment and People. Here are some highlights from the environmental section.

In 2009, the a national retail co-op that provides outdoor gear and clothing used less electricity and natural gas throughout its operations than in 2008, despite company–wide growth, including the addition of five new stores, thanks to energy-efficiency upgrades at stores that include lighting retrofits and other green building efforts such as day lighting and installing more efficient HVAC units.

However, REI’s total electricity use grew slightly by 0.4 percent in 2009. The company says this represents a significant improvement over previous years when it saw increases of up to ten percent.

Rooftop solar systems and green power purchases provided more than 18 percent of REI’s total electricity use in 2009. Solar power produced approximately 2.6 percent of its electricity needs for its retail operations

In 2009, REI received LEED certification for its green building prototype stores in Boulder, Colo. and Round Rock, Texas as well as for its store in Lincoln Park, Ill.

To date, six REI facilities are LEED certified, totaling over 690,000 square feet, or approximately 15 percent of REI’s total square footage.

REI’s Round Rock, Texas, store also won the Project of the Year sustainability award from the Association for Retail Environments in 2009.

REI introduced its ecoSensitive label in 2007, which identifies products that meet specific criteria and that demonstrate improved environmental attributes compared to their conventionally–manufactured counterparts. To qualify as ecoSensitive, a product must be made with a high percentage of organic fibers and/or a high percentage of renewable or recycled fibers such as post–industrial recycled polyester, recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic and polylactic acid (PLA).

The number of ecoSensitive products REI offers has increased from 40 in 2007 to more than 300 in 2009.

During 2009, REI exceeded its goal for FSC–certified paper fiber, increasing its total volume from 25.6 percent in 2008 to 38.2 percent in 2009. The company also significantly reduced its total paper use. In addition, REI also packaged many of its REI–brand gear and apparel products in paper made from 75 to 100 percent post–consumer waste fiber paper, and its product hangtags and several product packages were printed using FSC paper stock.

REI’s goal is to become a zero waste–to–landfill organization by 2020. The majority of waste the company generates comes from its operations, including cardboard, plastic and compostables as well as waste generated from new construction and facility remodels.

In 2009, REI recycled 88 percent of its operational waste by volume (274,268 yards) and 84 percent by weight (9,064 tons), compared with 74 percent by volume and 85 percent by weight in 2008, surpassing its 2009 mid-term goal.

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