REI Doubles Down on Sustainability With Expanded Used-Gear and Rental Programs

Outdoor retail giant REI is focused on ramping up its sustainability efforts. And that starts with its used-gear and rental programs.

When REI announced its financial results for 2018 this week — highlighted by raking in $2.78 billion for the year, a company record — it also revealed its plans to employ reuse efforts as a core business strategy.

In a statement, the retailer announced it would significantly expand its gear rental program and invest in used-gear and gear trade-in options. REI said new goods available to rent will include snowshoes, skis, snowboards, fully equipped camping and backpacking kits, among other outdoor-related products. This will occur both in-store at its 115 stores throughput the U.S. as well as online.

Outdoor enthusiasts can buy the used gear via REI.com/used, which lists the price of the product if purchased new next to the reduced price shoppers could buy it for today. And product rental options can be viewed via REI.com/stores/rentals.

REI believes the efforts will appeal to its millennial consumers, stating that 36 percent of millennials would rather rent products than own them.

“We’re determined to make it as easy as possible for people to make more sustainable choices. In 2017, we made it possible to search for product sustainability attributes online, and in 2018 launched our Product Sustainability Standards to ensure that every product we sell meets a minimum set of expectations,” chief customer officer Ben Steele said in a statement. “In 2019, we see the expanded rental and used-gear program as keeping us moving toward a sustainable and accessible outdoor future by offering new models of access to great outdoor gear and apparel.”

The retailer also launched a new brand campaign this week, “Find Out.” In addition to highlighting how the outdoors can provide health benefits in a sustainable way, REI stated the effort “reframes how people think about the powerful role the outdoors can play in their lives.”

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