On November 27th, the infamous Black Friday shopping day, REI is committing to spending the day exploring nature with their campaign #optoutside. This year, REI will be closing all 143 of their stores nationwide, paying their 12,139 employees to head outside.
Lloyd and Mary Anderson founded Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) in Seattle in 1938, where they began the cooperative as a group of 23 climbing buddies to bring quality climbing gear to fellow outdoor lovers at a reasonable price.
In 1979, REI began supporting outdoor recreation, and has since donated more than $40 million to stewardship projects on public lands. The Conservation Alliance was co-founded by REI in 1989 to support and fund the protection of wild places. When the co-op’s annual sales reached $1 billion in 2006, REI donated $1 million in grants to 100 National Park.
According to the latest annual stewardship report for 2014, REI donated $4.6 million to over 300 organizations to protect more than 600 natural places across the United States. They have taught more than 1 million people through their Outdoor Schools since 2005, with 200,000 participants in 2014.
REI prides itself on offering sustainable products, both environmentally and socially. The Fair Labor team ensures safe, fair, and non-discriminatory working conditions at every step. The Product Sustainability team works to reduce harmful impacts that their products have on the environment by reducing and eliminating chemicals of concern from production and packaging their products in the most efficient way.
Jerry Stritzke, the CEO of REI, has a simple message for this year’s Black Friday, “We believe a life outside is a life well-lived. We’d rather be in the mountains than in the aisles. Join us on November 27th in opting outside.”
Check out their #optoutside campaign website, for nearby hiking spots and to see how others are spending their day outdoors. You can also visit one of TLC’s many nature preserves! Share your adventures with #tlcpreserve onFacebook, Twitter (@ConserveTriLand), and Instagram (@trianglelandconservancy).