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Earth Month 2024

April 4, 2024

Found in Community news

There’s no better time than Earth Month to hold ourselves accountable on our climate targets. This April we’ll be checking in on our Climate Action Plan progress, teaming up with our incredible community of outdoor partners and orgs and hosting some cool initiatives and events. Get all the details below from our 2030 climate targets to when Tommy Caldwell will be visiting MEC Vancouver.

Pushing towards our climate action goals

Our full sustainability report drops in August, but we figured there’s no better time than Earth Month to give an update on where we’re at with our Climate Action Plan. While we love to share our good news, we’re not going to shy away from where we came up short and how we’re still aiming to improve.

One of our big pushes for lower-carbon products is within our MEC Label lineup, where we’re upping the usage of recycled fabrics. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re not done yet.

  • MEC Label more than doubled our use of recycled nylon going from 8% in 2022 to 19% in 2023. Our goal for 2023 was 30%, so there’s still a ways to go on this journey.

  • We also increased our use of recycled polyester, taking it from 41% in 2022 to 44% in 2023, but our goal for 2023 was 50%.

In both cases we did not meet the goals we laid out. While we’re encouraged by the progress we made, not meeting a goal always stings a little. But we’re picking ourselves up, dusting off our boots and setting our sights on our 2030 goals of 100% recycled nylon and 100% recycled polyester. We know there will be some challenges on the journey ahead, but as the saying goes, if you’re reaching all your goals, you’re not setting them high enough.

You’ll find recycled fabrics in some of your favourite MEC layers like the MEC Fireside Fleece Snap Pullover, which uses 100% recycled polyester and the classic MEC Aquanantor Rain Jacket uses 40-denier recycled nylon – just to name a few.

Beyond our products, we’re making big moves to tackle our carbon emissions, and we’re leveraging some incredible partnerships to help maximize our impact.

UBC Sauder Centre for Climate and Business Solutions: SME Climate Clinic

The UBC Sauder School of Business Centre for Climate and Business Solutions launched its first SME Climate Clinic in 2024, with MEC as the first Supply Chain Partner. This initiative helps us connect small brands with support and resources at UBC to start measuring and reducing their own emissions and MEC’s supply chain emissions, too. It also helps equip students with applied skills to drive sustainable change as future business leaders.

City of Vancouver: False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU)

One of the ways MEC Vancouver reduced the carbon emissions from our flagship store location is by connecting to the City of Vancouver’s False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU). The NEU system is super neat, it works by using waste thermal energy (a.k.a. heat) captured from sewage to provide space heating and hot water to buildings in Vancouver’s False Creek neighbourhood. This means our MEC Vancouver store uses renewable energy to heat the building, instead of only using conventional natural gas, and helps us operate our store in a lower-carbon way. The heat rejected from MEC Vancouver’s cooling system also helps to heat other buildings in the neighbourhood with renewable energy.

The inside landing of the NEU facility

Get involved: Workshops and events

It’s all about coming together as a community to help protect our favourite planet where we get to hike, bike, camp and climb. We’ve been cooking up some sweet events and initiatives to help you and your crew support some incredible outdoor organizations.

In-store clinics

Want to learn how to repair your favourite gear or keep your kit pieces performing like new? Join us for in-store gear repair and maintenance clinics led by MEC staffers.

Community Upcycling Workshops

Want to get creative? We’re partnering with local organizations to host workshops events in your area. Tickets are just $10 – sign up quick as spots are limited.

MEC Vancouver

Sunday, April 21
12 – 2pm

Learn how to make your own bike bag or chalk bag from recycled materials with The Cut Design Academy, one of North America’s only accredited fashion and design schools. All materials and tools will be provided.

MEC Calgary

Sunday, April 21
11am – 2pm

Make your own utility pouch with Rick Rack, a garment-focused sewing shop in the heart of Calgary. All tools and materials will be provided, but if you attend feel free to bring your own recycled fabric, too.

MEC Toronto

Sunday, April 21
(2) workshop times: 10am – 12pm or 2pm – 4pm

Learn to make a stylish drawstring bag with Create Studio, a team of artists and educators who provide workshops and classes in a variety of art mediums from sewing to pottery.

MEC Montréal

Sunday, April 21
11am – 3pm

Make your own bike bags out of recycled banner pieces with Les Affûtés, an organization founded on the idea that we can slow fast-paced consumerism by learning to build what we need and repair what we have. All materials and tools will be provided.

MEC X Edelrid present:

Tommy Caldwell Talks: Ride for the Planet

Tommy Caldwell at last year's event in MEC Vancouver

Last year was a record breaker: tickets for our Evening with Tommy Caldwell sold out in 1.5 hours! This year, he’s back, with more wild stories, cool prizes and even a chance to climb with Tommy himself.

First up, make sure you’re following @mec on Instagram and keep your eyes peeled on April 9 at 10am PST when Tommy takes over our Instagram Live.

This second one’s a biggie. We’ll be hosting an Instagram giveaway where you could win 2 tickets for a VIP climbing sesh with Tommy Caldwell and MEC climbing ambassadors Emma Contaoe and Sean McColl, PLUS 2 tickets for our live event, Tommy Caldwell Talks: Ride for the Planet, at MEC Vancouver. Did your brain just max out of stoke? Ours, too.

Then of course there’s the grand finale, Tommy’s event hosted by MEC and Edelrid at MEC Vancouver. You can expect silent auctions on some sweet Edelrid gear, prizes, drink tickets for purchase and some wild stories for our climbing community. All event proceeds go to Van Queer Climbers and Climber's Access Society of British Columbia to help protect the rocks and walls where we live, play and learn.

Tip: this is a very (very) popular event so make sure you’re following us on socials and marking your calendar for when tickets go on sale on April 11 at 12pm PST.

Our partners in climate progress

Like a bucket list peak, we believe climate goals should be lofty and hard to reach – otherwise, you’re probably setting the bar too low. Luckily, we have some incredible partners doing big things every day to help push climate efforts in the right direction.

Skeena River with mountain and ridgeline in the backdrop, forest in the midground

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Canada’s only charity dedicated to the protection of public land, freshwater and ocean with a strong national and regional presence across the country. With almost 60 years of success, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is Canada’s leader in conservation.

5 reps from Protect Our Winters Canada stand with a banner in front of Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Protect Our Winters Canada

At POW Canada their mission is to turn outdoor enthusiasts into climate advocates. With 13 chapters nationwide, they team up with pro athletes, industry leaders and outdoors enthusiasts to bring real change and political reform to Canada’s fight against climate change.

Two girls consult a map route with GPS and compass

Leave No Trace Canada

Promoting the responsible use of outdoor spaces is a cause that is near and dear to every outdoors enthusiast’s heart. That’s why MEC has been supporting Leave No Trace Canada through education, research and partnerships since 2006.

In-store initiatives

Smartwool Second Cut Program

When: April 1 – 30 at all MEC stores
Only 12% of clothing materials end up getting recycled. It’s time to change that. The Smartwool Second Cut Project™ is back in Canada to recycle your old socks into new gear.

Drop off unwanted socks at your local MEC store; look for the Smartwool Second Cut Project bins. Merino wool is preferred, but all socks are welcome as long as they’re clean: all brands, all colours, all materials, all conditions (single socks are good too). Smartwool will give these socks new life as a new Second Cut™ Project Hike Sock – nice!

Sterling Rope Recycling Program

When: Ongoing at all MEC stores (excluding HBC locations)
Back for 2024, MEC will continue to offer a way for members to re-purpose their used climbing rope. Sterling Rope's dynamic rope recycling program gives old ropes new life. Some ropes get upcycled into things like dog leashes or bag handles. Others are melted or ground down into nylon pellets to be turned into carpet fibres, fleece, skateboards and dog toys.

If you have dynamic climbing rope that’s dirty, damaged or ready to retire, this is your chance to get it out of your garage or gear closet and put it to work in a new way. Any brand is accepted, as long as it’s dynamic (not static) climbing rope. Coil or bind your rope (no flaked and loose ropes, please) and drop it off in the big Sterling Rope Monster Box at MEC stores.

Edelrid giveback

When: April 1 — 30 in-store and online
Edelrid and MEC have teamed up for Earth Month and will be donating $1 from each Edelrid product sold during the month of April to Protect Our Winters Canada (up to $2,000).

Sustainably minded products

Check out some of our favourite innovative gear pieces designed with the planet in mind, from puffy jackets made with recycled materials, to biodegradable camp soaps, to rugged duffle bags descended from a long line of plastic water bottles.

Stay tuned for even more sustainable tips and info coming later this month.

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