OptOutside: REI’s Audacious Experiment in Integrity

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For the last two Black Fridays, REI has done a remarkable thing. It closed the doors of all 143 of its retail stores, its headquarters and its two distribution centres and paid every one of its over 12,000 employees to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. Here’s how Jerry Stritzke, REI’s president and CEO, explained the decision: “As a member-owned co-op, our definition of success goes beyond money. We believe that a life lived outdoors is a life well lived and we aspire to be stewards of our great outdoors. We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles.” Read on to learn about the challenges of running a purpose-driven company and how REI is leading the way.

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