Outdoor retailer REI seeks to advance gender equality with series of long-term pledges
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In 2017, US co-operative REI encouraged its members to make the great outdoors ‘the world’s largest level playing field’ by committing to programmes championing gender equality. Initiatives ranged from creating new apparel to supporting non-profits that create opportunities for women outdoors.
The Force of Nature campaign put women at the centre of all of REI’s storytelling efforts for the rest of the year. This included all marketing, social and media partnerships, and activity. It committed $1m to support organisations that provide opportunities for women in the great outdoors and invested in companies that are creating worldclass outdoor gear for women. Finally it launched more than 1,000 events to get women active.
RESULTS / According to REI, the campaign attracted more than 341 million media impressions, and 45 million social media impressions.
INSIGHTS / There are two specific elements that make this initiative so compelling: long-termism and transparency. By investing time, money and resources into championing this cause, REI can gain momentum as the campaign matures, rather than have to find another cause to get behind. Coupled with this is the level of transparency that REI displays throughout the campaign. The company proudly states that it has been championing women’s rights for eight decades, that women hold 40% of all senior leadership roles in the company and one third of the board of directors are women. This reinforces the idea that the way REI is run backs up the messaging.