People: Responsible Sourcing
Our commitment to MEC members is to provide them with gear that's excellent value, is available when they want it, and made in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Our Social Compliance Program is dedicated to improving working conditions in factories that produce MEC-brand apparel and gear.
Working with Suppliers and Factories
We don't own or operate any factories ourselves, but as a condition of doing business with MEC, we require our suppliers and wholesale brand partners to uphold the MEC Code of Conduct. It sets out minimum standards for workers' rights and environmental responsibility, and is based on the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Code of Conduct and the covenants of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
We believe in transparency, and in 2008, were the first retailer in Canada to publish our factory list. We continue to update and publish this list annually.
We audit the majority of our factories at least once every 18 months, in line with industry practice. These audits allow us to identify suppliers who need additional support to improve their operations, while recognizing the suppliers who demonstrate leadership. We work with factories individually to offer training and support to resolve problems and help build capacity to better manage their own labour and environmental practices. And we return to factories to ensure required changes are indeed being made and upheld.
Based on performance, our evaluation method places factories into four categories. Our Accountability Reports details the distribution among categories and outlines how we evolve and progress from year to year.
Our first preference is to work with our suppliers to change unacceptable practices and thereby meet our commitment to improving workers' lives, rather than simply withdrawing our business. Our Social Compliance team works with MEC buyers, production specialists, and factory managers to help make needed improvements. Unfortunately, there are instances when a supplier is unwilling to discontinue practices MEC deems unacceptable. In these cases, we will ultimately make a decision to place our business elsewhere.