Honey, We Shrunk the Electric Bill: REI and the Path to Sustainability

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Honey, We Shrunk the Electric Bill: REI and the Path to Sustainability

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 10:25am

“When it comes to the environment, can business be part of the solution? Conventional wisdom says that growing a business means increasing environmental and social impacts. More sales must mean more trash to the landfill and burning more coal to make the electricity that keeps our lights on… right? 

Maybe not.
 
As a co-op devoted to getting people outdoors, enjoying nature and taking good care of it, REI is out to chart a different future for business. And we're starting to show some results. Parts of our 2010 stewardship report tell a more hopeful business story: We don't have to be part of the problem—and maybe business can be part of the solution to some of the world's biggest challenges.
 
Take a look at our energy use for example. Over the past two years REI has increased sales by about 16%, added 9 new stores (about 8% increase), added shifts at distribution centers and expanded our business in other ways. But instead of increasing the amount of energy we use, we've actually decreased our total energy consumption for two years in a row. That's about a 4% reduction in total energy use measured in thousands of British Thermal Units (MBTU), a measure that combines electricity and natural gas use.
 
 
About REI
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.
 
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Keywords: 2010 stewardship Report | Energy | Energy | REI | electricity | energy consumption reduction | environment