Skip to main content
Alumni, Experts

Matthew Thurston

Director of Sustainability at REI
Master of Environmental Management 2010
Matthew Thurston

Matthew Thurston was recently spotted in the damp, mossy woods of the Pacific Northwest. “Is that a hairless sasquatch!” exclaimed one hiker. “Nah, just another Yale FES’er trail running to work,” said her friend.

When not startling local hikers, Matt serves as the Director of Sustainability for the outdoor retailer REI. Founded eighty years ago by a group of Seattle-area climbing friends, REI is now the nation’s largest consumer cooperative. The co-op exists to awaken a life-long love of the outdoors, for all.

Matt supports a team of sustainability experts who lead the organization’s stewardship and impact strategy. They engage across the co-op’s lines of business—overseeing labor rights in international supply chains, improving energy efficiency in retail operations, developing perspectives on key social and environmental challenges, and everything in between. It’s a darn good gig, and it’s the type of work that Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment prepares students to tackle in an ever-challenging operating environment.

Matt holds BAs in Environmental Studies and Government from Franklin & Marshall College. At Yale, he specialized in Industrial Ecology. His career began in product manufacturing, particularly apparel and textiles. He is now focused on supporting better, cleaner, safer ways of doing business in complex supply chains. He has professional affiliations with UC Berkeley, University of Washington, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Outdoor Industry Association, among others.