REI’s new #OptOutside message: Save the planet
For the last four years, REI has closed up shop on Black Friday as part of its #OptOutside campaign to encourage employees and customers to forgo the craze of commercialism at malls and explore the outdoors. This year, it’s looking for a bigger eco-commitment.
As in the past four years, REI will close all stores, process no online payments and pay all employees to take the day off an #OptOutside with friends and family. REI CEO Eric Artz wrote in a letter to co-op members last week: “Enjoy the outdoors and remind yourself why protecting it is crucial for us and for future generations.”
The successful campaign has encouraged more than 150 other retailers to close their doors and state parks to waive fees on Black Friday.
But REI is now further asking members to “Opt To Act” to help the environment.
Members are being urged to “consider joining” one of its 11 clean-ups around the country taking place throughout November. Wrote Mr. Artz added, “If you can’t find a cleanup near you, commit to picking up trash you find while on your hike — leaving our trails and outdoor spaces better than you found them.”
Members are also being encouraged to sign up for a new 52-week Opt to Act plan that includes tips on how to establish eco-friendly habits. For December, suggestions include committing to reusable bags, opting out of junk mail and forgoing traditional Christmas wrapping paper.
The extra steps are necessary due to climate change. Mr. Artz wrote, “My job is to steward the co-op, and the outdoors, on your behalf — and on behalf of the generations who follow us. Today, that future is at risk.”
Internally, REI is further “rethinking its core business model in favor of more mindful consumption.” The retailer is now piloting used gear buy-back programs, ski rentals and a new online rental reservations system. REI also outlined steps it is taking to work toward zero-waste operations and challenges it is making to the industry to eliminate unnecessary packaging.
“As a single company, our impact is limited, but as a community, we can drive change that powers meaningful action beyond our walls,” Mr. Artz wrote.
- REI’s Black Friday calls to “opt to act” – REI
- Rei CEO Eric Artz: We Must Opt To Act – REI
- The Opt To Act Plan – REI
- #OptOutside Is Not Enough: REI Ups Black Friday Ante – Gear Junkie
- ‘It’s time to fight for life outdoors’: REI encourages shoppers to #OptOutside on Black Friday – USA Today
- Will this be the year REI regrets opting out of Black Friday? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does REI’s call for an eco-commitment behind #OptOutside elevate the campaign or carry risks, due to its more serious tone? How should companies draw the line between encouraging customers to embrace healthy habits versus making them feel guilty or overwhelmed over meeting such obligations?