Sally Jewell, the chief executive of REI, is the most unpretentious big-company CEO I know. When we first met a couple of years ago for dinner in Washington, she arrived in toting an REI backpack (made from recycled material). She’s plain-spoken, direct and a good interview.Her company, as you might expect, is committed to minimizing its environmental footprint. (Without a healthy planet, there’s no business for REI.)
So I was delighted when Sally agreed to a keynote interview at the 2011 Net Impact conference last week in Portland. We talked about how REI has lowered its energy and GHG emissions while adding stores, about the (unfair) competition from Amazon and about how ideas percolate up, down and around the retailer.
Some 2,600 people attended the New Impact confab which, as always, was a great event. I’m only slightly biased, as a board member of Net Impact; the organization’s mission is to inspire and equip young people to use the power of business to make a more just, sustainable world. You can hear more about Net Impact on the video below from Liz Maw, Net Impact’s executive director.. The interview with Sally is nearly an hour long, but I’ve posted it here, figuring that at the least REI employees may want to watch.
And, if you are one of those people who plans ahead, please mark your calendar for the 2012 Net Impact conference on Oct. 26-27, in Baltimore, MD.