Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RILA Announces REI President and CEO Sally Jewell as Sustainability Conference Keynote Speaker

Arlington, VA - Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) President and CEO Sally Jewell will be featured as the keynote speaker at the 2009 Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Environmental Sustainability and Compliance Conference to be held October 5-7 in Dallas, TX.

RILA’s 2009 Environmental Sustainability & Compliance Conference (ESCC) is the only sustainability conference designed and presented by retailers, for retailers. This second annual conference brings together business leaders from across the retail spectrum to hear from their peers, share best practices, and learn the latest operational strategies for environmental sustainability and compliance.

“RILA is pleased to have Sally Jewell, one of the retail industry’s most recognized leaders on issues of sustainability as our keynote speaker,” said RILA President Sandy Kennedy. “Under her leadership, REI continues to excel, implementing environmentally sustainable practices and driving forward-thinking change throughout the retailer’s supply chain and business.”

Jewell’s presentation will focus on the sustainable leadership initiatives and strategies that have earned REI its standing as a leader in environmental sustainability. Last month, the company received a Social Innovation Award by the Financial Times and JustMeans in recognition of its social and environmental efforts.

"Sustainability is a team sport," said Sally Jewell, president and CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), and RILA board member. "We can accomplish so much more when we work together to protect our planet while benefitting our industry."

Jewell joined REI as chief operating officer in 2000, after serving on its board of directors for four years. Named president and CEO in 2005, she regularly serves as a spokesperson on behalf of REI and the outdoor industry regarding the importance of outdoor recreation, especially among young people. Prior to joining REI, Jewell spent nearly 20 years in the commercial banking industry. In addition to serving on the RILA board of directors, Jewell is a founding board member and the immediate past president for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. She also serves on the University Of Washington Board Of Regents, board of the National Parks Conservation Association, and board of the Initiative for Global Development—business leaders working to end global poverty. In 2008 she was appointed as a commissioner on the National Parks Second Century Commission.

REI is credited as one of the retail industry’s sustainability leaders because of its commitment to weave social and environmental innovation throughout its business strategies. Among its many sustainability activities, REI partners with community organizations to encourage active hands-on conservation efforts, and works closely with paper suppliers to accelerate the adoption of sustainable forestry practices. The company has also partnered with its peers in the Outdoor Industry Association eco-index working group. With more than 100 organizations, the group is sharing collective knowledge to ultimately improve on the environmental performance of outdoor gear and clothing. REI’s environmental sustainability goals include its long-term goal to be climate neutral by 2020.

The conference’s program will address the key operational aspects of environmental sustainability and compliance for the retail industry, including sessions on energy, waste management, water conservation, store operations, real estate development, supply chain issues, and opportunities for improving corporate social responsibility. RILA’s conference offers a unique perspective by incorporating the latest in environmental regulatory issues and tactical keys to compliance that create immediate business value.

Retailers and consumer product manufacturers understand that sound environmental practices improve their companies’ performance, create opportunities for growth and sustain business longevity. In today’s economic climate, green initiatives can be a differentiator for customers, a money-saver for retailers and driver of innovation – in other words, a business imperative.

About REI

Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality outdoor equipment, REI operates 107 retail stores nationwide in 27 states, two online stores – REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com – REI Outdoor School and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor fitness, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel.

As an active member of the communities in which it does business, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions. REI has been named among FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” every year since 1998.

About RILA

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) promotes consumer choice and economic freedom through public policy and industry operational excellence. Its members include the largest and most successful retailers operating in the U.S.--which together provide millions of jobs and operate more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. In 2007 RILA launched the RILA Sustainability Initiative (RSI) to help leading retail companies meet and exceed environmental standards relevant to the retail industry and pursue responsible environmentally sustainable activities and business practices.