- REI DIVEST -
Opt 4 Climate is an organization of REI members who are also climate activists. We care about the world and think that one of our favorite brands should too, so join us in helping convince REI that the divestment of our cooperative from fossil fuel companies, and the big banks that fund them is a viable solution that directly helps climate change.
- REI DIVEST
Tyler Young from Lighthearted Humans provided Opt 4 Climate with social media content creation as well as web and graphic design services. Visit their website to see everything that went into launching their campaign.
Opt 4Climate is a group of concerned environmentalists who are also members of the popular outdoor gear and apparel cooperative REI. Their mission is to convince REI to join the divestment movement which involves taking companies funds, savings investments, 401k’s etc. out of fossil fuel companies, and the banks that fund them. They claim that it is a viable solution and directly helps the climate.
They have chosen to target REI because climate change is simultaneously threatening communities, individuals human rights, and more importantly, our ecosystems which we rely on (and hike in).
REI currently has investments in big banks like U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo which are funding the fossil fuel industries driving climate change. These banks have been placed on a list entitled Mazaska Talks (money talks) published by a group of Indigenous activists which formed after the standing rock protest over water rights, and this list shows the banks which are directly funding the fossil fuel industry and driving climate change. Environmental watchdog giants like The Rainforest Action Network are simultaneously calling for the same thing.
Opt 4 Climate says, “Banking is stewardship, too. REI's banking practices fly in the face of its claim to put environmental purpose above profit and prevent REI from reaching its goal to become carbon-neutral by 2020.”
The organization has targeted REI due to claims like, “our co-op’s health depends on the environment’s health.” REI certainly promotes itself as a very eco-friendly brand, and while the staff at Opt 4 Climate are sure to point out the brands consumerism base, though note that is is indeed important for people to get get outside, and this in turn, promotes a greater respect for the environment in which we all live, breathe, and play. This sort of adventure based advertising has lead to campaigns like REI’s #OPTOUTSIDE which has since taken off to become an instagram favorite among avid hikers, cyclists, kayakers, and general go getters. And this is where Opt 4 Climate got their name, encouraging people to think about their impact with the #OPT4CLIMATE and they have encouraged their supporters to post photos with their cell phones or the linked image to show.their support for REI to divest their money into banks that are better for the environment. They site climate data like James Hansen’s plea to remain below 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, well below the un target to remain under 450ppm which is roughly 2 degrees celsius, a number we are approaching rather quickly as they also mention the most recent climatic data at Mauna Loa, Hawaii which has placed the current concentration at 411PPM.
In addition to their successes on social media, the Opt 4 Climate team has sat down with REI board members, and key staff members at their headquarters in Seattle to discuss divestment, and while the brand did not make any commitments to the team, they were receptive to new ideas, and felt their longterm values aligned with the campaign, those following along only wish the apparently eco-friendly outdoor brand would move a bit faster, and be a bit more bold. Overall, it is reassuring that environmentalists aren’t allowing brands to blatantly greenwash their practices. While REI is better off than most, there’s always room for improvement.