Posted by: hepowers | October 12, 2009

Mountain Equipment Co-op — Wow.

Today’s blog looks at Mountain Equipment Co-op.  Where to start?  They have so many socially responsible initiatives and their reputation is solidly built on commitment to the planet and its people.

Even their operating structure is a socially responsible point.  This Cooperative, begun in 1971 with 6 members, today numbers more than three million.  With a $5 membership fee, you become part of the largest co-operative, democratic, retail company in Canada.

Here are a few of their current initiatives (quotes are from MEC’s website):

  • Ethical Sourcing Program:  “This means safer working conditions, legal working hours, and reasonable pay for work done.”
  • No parking for employees:  “On an average day, 81% of us cycle, walk, or use public transit to get to work.”
  • Partnership with bluesign technologies of Switzerland: “Bluesign provides independent auditing of textile mills. They examine the manufacturing process from raw materials and energy going in – to water and air emissions going out.”
  • 1% For the Planet: “We’ve joined 1% For The Planet, an alliance of businesses that believe in providing financial support to environmental initiatives. Since 1987, we’ve given in excess of $12.5 million to Canadian conservation projects through our grant programs. Now we’re committed to donating a full 1% of our annual gross sales to Canadian causes. This translates to more giving than ever – an estimated $2 million in 2007 alone.”
  • The Big Wild: “The Big Wild was founded in 2008 by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and Mountain Equipment Co-op, who provide funding, research and staff.  Donations to The Big Wild Fund support initiatives aimed at protecting large wild spaces.”  This initiative hopes to preserve fifty percent of Canada’s wild spaces – a number that is deemed the critical point for sustainability.

On MEC’s Sustainability web page, there is this quote “Count on us to act with integrity.  We’re driven by passion, not profit.  We continue to look for ways to protect our wild spaces and reduce the ecological footprint of our business.”



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