During the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show this week, REI recognized vendor partners with its Vendor Partner of the Year awards. The co-op also recognized Costa Sunglasses with REI’s Root award, which celebrates industry-leading sustainable product design.
Snowboard and skateboard manufacturer, Arbor Collective, headquartered in Venice, Calif., received the co-op’s overall Vendor Partner of the Year award for 2018.
“For 25 years Arbor has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the co-op,” said Susan Viscon, REI senior vice president, merchandising. “They are incredibly passionate about our partnership beyond ‘the transaction’ – from innovating process with us, to highest-level support for employee training, to like-minded sustainability practices. We appreciate Arbor’s authenticity and ongoing investment in our partnership.”
- The following vendors collected 2018 divisional honors for the year:
- Action sports: Electra (Encinitas, California)
- Camp: Hydro Flask (Bend, Oregon)
- Apparel: Smartwool (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)
- Footwear and basics: Outdoor Research (Seattle)
The Vendor Partner of the Year awards program was established by REI in 1993. Each year, companies are nominated by the co-op’s four merchandising divisions – action sports, camp, apparel, and footwear and basics – for partnering with REI to meet customer needs, raise the bar for product quality and drive sustainable business practices.
The co-op’s Root Award was created in 2016 to celebrate the gritty, below-the-surface determination that drives sustainability innovation in the outdoor industry and honors innovation that moves the industry toward more sustainable ways of making gear.
This year, REI recognized Costa Sunglasses for developing its “Untangled Collection” of sunglasses that uses frames made of plastic from recycled fishing nets. Products in this collection use other lower-impact materials such as recycled nose and temple pads and recycled aluminum logo detail. Costa continues to educate customers about the importance of protecting the oceans, while also providing an option for recycling the sunglasses when they reach the end of their lifecycle.
“One of Costa’s core commitments is helping protect our oceans, rivers and lakes,” says Matthew Thurston, REI Director of Sustainability. “The Untangled Collection stands out as a major advancement in sustainable design because it takes a major issue for ocean health – discarded fishing nets – and turns them into high quality gear. Costa has been a key partner for us as we’ve rolled out our Product Sustainability Standards in 2017 and we’re happy to recognize them with this year’s Root Award.”