Welcome to our 2012 Accountability Report, the theme of which is "Collaboration". As a relatively small organization (on a global scale), we know that making true progress in sustainability entails just that – collaboration beyond our limited organizational boundaries. We are working with industry peers and NGOs to create lasting positive change, whether it's collaborating with retailers and brands to advance supply chain practices, or joining forces with others to improve environmental standards of materials.
MEC is operating in an age of exponential change. Competition is not only increasing, but the players are becoming larger and more sophisticated. Supply chains are becoming more volatile and globally diverse. The greatest driver of change is the rapid advancement and omnipresence of technology, which consumers are readily adopting. In response, we're focusing on becoming more nimble and resilient, and better servicing our members in this new paradigm. Throughout these changes, we continue to embed and integrate sustainability within our day-to-day operations.
In 2012, we updated our 5-year Business Sustainability Strategy, with a focus on four pillars: product integrity, retail operations, member service, and community. We updated our Social Compliance Strategy. We expanded our product assortment, breaking it out into three categories (backcountry, active lifestyle, and lifestyle) to better serve our members in an authentic way. We also invested in ecommerce to provide omni-channel access, and increased our outreach in stores to foster active communities through events, meet-ups, and clinics.
On the sustainability front, we celebrated some successes. In 2012, 53% of MEC-brand apparel materials were bluesign® approved, surpassing our target of 50%. We also achieved a 31% reduction in our carbon footprint (surpassing our 20% reduction target). We continue to see progress in the area of social compliance, though we're still facing some challenges in violations we deem to be unacceptable. We are working with factories to remediate them.
With our efforts to date, we're at a point where we've picked the low-hanging "sustainability fruit". Additional gains are becoming tougher to achieve, but we're up for the challenge, and we believe that progress will only come through the deeper integration of sustainability aspects into our operations. In implementing our 5-year Business Sustainability Strategy, we've placed an emphasis on product integrity, as this is where our greatest impact and opportunity lie. We've set a bold target of having 100% of our MEC-brand product materials bluesign approved by 2017, and are collaborating with partners to further sustainability in the apparel industry. We have yet to set an updated 5-year carbon reduction target, but are embarking on it in 2013.
It's been a challenging, yet satisfying, 2012. By adapting to changes in the market and our members' needs, and collaborating with communities and colleagues, we're confident we are on track to greater sustainable growth.
Welcome to MEC's 2012 Accountability Report.
MEC exists to inspire and enable people to live active outdoor lifestyles by selling outdoor gear, clothing, and services. Our values – including integrity, sustainability, and co-operation – guide us in achieving this purpose.
In this report we tell you how we're embedding social, environmental, and economic commitments into our organization, and how we're performing in terms of both the progress we've made and the challenges we face.
We're excited about the strides we've made in the last year: they reinforce our commitment to responding to the needs of our members and our unwavering dedication to sustainable practices. We look forward to seeing what the future brings, and to continuing to serve our members.
Enjoy the report and please let us know what you think.
Chair, MEC Board of Directors, 2012