REI has released its latest Impact Report and financials results for 2022, closing the year with a record $3.85 billion in sales and distributing $323 million back to the co-op community.
According to a statement released on Wednesday by the Seattle-based retailer, the co-op ended the year with a strong liquidity and working capital position and continued in its mission of investing in its members, employees and the outdoors.
REI president and CEO Eric Artz wrote in a public letter released alongside the report on Wednesday that he is “incredibly impressed” by all the company has accomplished as a co-op.
“Throughout 2022, we invested in our people, in our capabilities and in the communities we serve,” said Artz. “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.”
As for its Impact Report, when it came to investing in employees, REI stated that it placed $50 million toward pay raises for hourly employees and delivered another $92.3 million toward employee retirement and bonuses. Combined, that’s the largest single-year investment the co-op has ever made in employee compensation, REI said.
In terms of diversity, REI stated that over 81 percent of employees reported feeling like their leaders take a genuine interest in their humanity and well-being, with 78 percent 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 percent of employers. What’s more, the co-op increased participation in its Inclusion Networks (employee resource groups) by 14 percent since 2020, and increased its overall BIPOC employee representation to 25.9 percent in 2022.
REI also continued investing in its Path Ahead Ventures division, which offers full-spectrum support to startups owned and led by founders of color. In its inaugural year, REI Path Ahead Ventures worked to accelerate the success of founders of color in the outdoor industry, providing 37 founders $2.7 million in grants and investment while creating a network of over 250 speakers, mentors, advisers and investors.
This is in addition to the other organizations REI has donated to this year. Overall, REI said it made $6.9 million in contributions to 503 nonprofit partners across the country in 2022.
“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,” Wilma Wallace, REI’s chief diversity and social impact officer, said in a statement. “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.”
As for its environmental impact, REI said it celebrated a decade of powering its operations with 100 percent renewable electricity in 2022. With this milestone, the co-op made a commitment to source locally generated renewable energy for all 181 of its stores.
Additionally, 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 partnerships ranging from forestry in North America with the Family Forest Carbon Program to clean cookstoves in Africa with BioLite.
REI added that it is on track toward its goal to become the first national retailer to achieve zero waste by 2025, diverting 84 percent of its operational waste from landfills this past year.
This news comes one day after the retailer confirmed it would close its downtown Portland, Ore. store amid an increase in retail crime in the area. In a statement emailed to FN on Tuesday, an REI Co-op representative confirmed the closure and stated that the decision “does not reflect the hard work and dedication of our Portland team, nor the overall health of the co-op.”
“The safety of our employees, members and customers is always our number one priority,” the statement sent to FN said. “Last year, REI Portland had its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite our actions and investment to provide extra security.