REI Announces Green Energy Project Grant

3 May 2011

Co-op’s active adventures travel division funds biogas project in Nepal

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed)  - REI Adventures, a leader in worldwide guided active adventure programs, announced that a grant of $87,000 has been awarded to Nepal SEEDS, a nonprofit organization focused on improving social, educational and environmental development. The grant, made possible through REI’s partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), will help fund biogas projects to improve the lives of residents of small villages and communities near where REI Adventures’ Royal Trek trip operates in Nepal.

“It is rewarding to team with a nonprofit as committed as we are to improving and protecting the places we love to visit so future generations can also enjoy them.” says Cynthia Dunbar, REI Adventures manager. “We were fortunate to be introduced to the great work Nepal SEEDS started, and credit one of REI Adventures’ local top guides who directs and founded the organization.”

Beginning in 2011 REI Adventures will work with Nepal SEEDS to fund the installation of nearly 100 biogas systems over the next three years. The systems provide immediate environmental and health benefits for people in Nepal. Families can cook with gas instead of wood fires in their homes, which significantly reduces the need to harvest trees for firewood and improves health conditions through eliminating smoke inhalation in the home.

The biogas project also provides waste management for the village, which improves overall sanitation and produces pathogen-free fertilizer that can be used for crops to enhance food supply for consumption or selling at market.

The biogas systems include a composting toilet, an animal waste intake, a large underground tank to connect the two sources of waste, a piping system and a gas burning stove where the fuel generated in the tank is sent.

“We’re thrilled to be working with a group who cares so deeply about improving Nepal’s small village communities,” says Keith Goldstein, Nepal SEEDS president. “This grant is a major step forward to our organization’s goals to improve the quality of life and at the same time to protect and preserve the environment.”

Funding for this project was made possible through REI’s partnership with BEF, a nonprofit environmental foundation that markets green power products and funds new renewable energy projects. Since 2007 REI has purchased carbon offsets (formerly called green tags) in order to offset the climate impact of REI Adventure travel. From those purchases, BEF set aside 10 percent of the proceeds to be invested in renewable energy projects in places that benefit the people and environment where REI Adventures operates trips.

“We are proud of REI Adventures’ commitment to carbon reduction,” says Margie Gardner, BEF CEO. “We support biogas facilities in the United States and are excited to see REI Adventures work with Nepal SEEDS to introduce biogas to new communities.”

REI continues to count the climate impact of its adventure trips and will make investments to support future solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. To read about how the co-op counts and reports its climate impact, please visit its annual stewardship report.