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Vancouver â€“ Mountain Equipment Co-opâ„¢, Canada’s largest retail co-operative with over 2.9 million members, today disclosed the names of factories that make clothing and gear under the outdoor retailer’s MEC-brand label. With the move, MEC becomes the first Canadian company to disclose its factory base.
â€œFactory disclosure is about transparency,â€ said MEC CEO David Labistour. â€œBy casting light on MEC’s global supply chain we endeavour to reveal more about the companies and countries we do business with in the course of bringing MEC-brand products to our customers, the member-owners we serve.â€œ
In disclosing its factory base Mountain Equipment Co-op is on common ground with several leading companies outside of Canada that have already disclosed.
Nike, Inc. was the first U.S. company to disclose its factory base, in 2006. Since then, Patagonia and Timberland have followed. (Footwear or clothing from each of these vendor partners are part of MEC’s comprehensive outdoor offering.)
â€œDisclosure is another means by which working collaboratively and over time we believe we can improve the lives of factory workers â€“ both within our supply chain and beyond it,â€ said Harvey Wah Chan, MEC’s director of ethical sourcing.
The disclosure is available online on MEC’s English and French websites, where one can view the factory list in an electronic (pdf file) format. More information and the list itself are available at www.mec.ca/factories.
Name, street address and country are given for 53 factories that make one or more styles of MEC-brand hardgoods (packs, tents, sleeping bags) or softgoods (performance and commodity apparel).
A $10,000 factory order threshold was set to determine MEC’s 2008 disclosure list. Twenty-two factories were excluded for fulfilling orders of less than $10,000.
Five factories were not disclosed for administrative or non-agreement reasons. MEC’s goal is to disclose all its private-label contract factories within one year.
Factory disclosure and ethical sourcing are examples of how MEC integrates sustainability initiatives and programs into its co-operative business operations. Others include grants for community based wilderness conservation and outdoor recreation, a green building program and sustainable product development.
MEC is Canada’s leading retailer of outdoor clothing and equipment, providing quality products and services for activities like hiking, cycling, and snowsports. Established in 1971, MEC operates 11 destination stores in central locations across Canada as well as mail and web-order services. More information about MEC is available at www.mec.ca.