We make and sell gear and clothing for all kinds of people-powered activities, including cycling, hiking, camping, running, yoga, climbing, snowsports, and watersports. In 2012, we sold over 12 million individual products. We know that products represent MEC's biggest environmental impact. Our goal is to lessen that impact as much as possible.
We do that by choosing environmentally preferable materials where possible, and by working with Bluesign AG to further reduce the environmental impact of our supply chain through the responsible management and selection of chemicals.
We also know that we can have greater impact if we collaborate with others in our industry. As an original member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), we're working with other retailers, manufacturers, NGOs, government agencies and academic experts to develop the Higg Index. The Index provides a single, universal approach for identifying opportunities to reduce environmental impact in the apparel industry across the entire supply chain. By collaborating with others and taking a unified approach, we'll be able to achieve lasting positive change in the apparel industry.
Our Product Design Charter highlights our principles of design and product integrity at MEC:
From an environmental perspective, we take a lifecycle approach: our efforts start at the design table and move upstream. Every stage of a product's life cycle has an environmental impact: raw material feedstock, processing, manufacturing and assembly, packaging, distribution, use, and end of life. At each of these stages, we aim to consider energy and GHG emissions, water, waste, and chemistry/toxins, as well as land-use intensity and biodiversity. The Higg Index, which we're currently piloting, will help us assess our impact at each of these stages. We're in the process of determining how we can integrate the learning from the Higg Index into our design, development, and production management practices. This is an evolution that will take time, internally and externally as part of the broader SAC.
To reduce our environmental impact, we currently focus primarily on MEC-brand products, particularly textiles, and will expand to other areas as our influence and experience grows. We believe we're succeeding when we: