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Our sustainability goals for MEC Label products

April 1, 2021

Found in Community news, Gear

Almost fifty years ago, we started designing our own products. We’ve come a long way since then, and sustainability has become a major part of the thinking that goes into MEC Label designs. Sometimes, it’s an easy story to tell, like how plastic bottles can be transformed into fuzzy fleece. Other times, it’s more complicated (even a little nerdy), like choosing safer chemistry to make fabric.

To kick off Earth Month, we want to bring it all together and share where we’re heading next. We know we’re not perfect, and we want to keep doing better.

Introducing: our latest sustainability goals for MEC Label.

Goals we’re working toward

By 2025, our big picture aim is to have at least one environmental or social responsibility feature* per MEC Label product.

We also have goals for specific materials and the way things are made:

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Goal: give plastic a second life

By 2023, our goal is that 50% of the polyester in MEC Label products is made from recycled content. By 2030, we want to be at 100%.

By turning recycled plastic water bottles and fishing nets into outdoor gear and clothing, MEC hopes to show how useful recycled waste can be and expand the market for these materials too (did you know that Canada only recycled 9% of its plastics in 2016?). Plus, it gives old products a second life and keeps them out of the landfill.

Learn more about recycled content

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Goal: use the safest possible chemicals

By 2025, our goal is that 100% of the fabrics in MEC Label products are bluesign approved®. This is a big deal, since it involves all the chemistry that goes into manufacturing fabrics.

Bluesign approved fabrics are made in the safest possible way for the planet, workers and you. MEC Label has been working with Bluesign since 2005, and about 80% of our fabric is currently bluesign-approved – so we’re well on our way.

Learn more about Bluesign

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Goal: make a difference in workers’ lives

By 2025, our goal is to have 50% of MEC Label clothing made in a Fair Trade Certified factory.

Fair Trade is a way to make a local impact in a global economy. For every Fair Trade Certified product sold, MEC pays a premium into a fund for factory employees, who vote on how to use the funds based on community needs.

Learn more about Fair Trade Certified

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Goal: all recycled hang tags, all the time

Hang tags are the paper info tags attached to MEC Label products. As you can imagine, we create a huge amount of them each year. By 2023, our goal is to use 100% post-consumer recycled paper in every single hang tag – this saves energy and water, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Good news: we’re already 80% of the way there.

Goals we’ve achieved so far

We’ve ticked off a few goal boxes already, and we’re still committed to:

  • More environmentally friendly natural fibres: All of the cotton in MEC Label products is always organically grown. Organic cotton has a reduced energy demand, uses far less water via irrigation, and means less nutrients leaching from the soil. Another natural fibre we use is Tencel®. It’s created from pulp sourced from trees grown on Forest Stewardship Council certified farm, and the process to create it is non-toxic and closed loop. Learn more about natural and organic fibres.

  • 100% Certified Responsible Down: Since 2016, MEC Label has only sourced down from birds that are responsibly raised and cared for, and we prohibit live-plucking and force-feeding. Learn more about animal welfare.

  • 100% LWG Certified leather: Any leather in MEC Label products is certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG). The LWG aims to improve the environmental impact of the leather industry and promote traceability. Knowing where leather hides come from is important, because deforestation can be connected to cattle ranching in some parts of the world.

** By that we mean recycled content, organic content, Fair Trade, PVC-free, Responsible Down Standard, Responsible Wool Standard, preferred Lyocell, rechargeable, Leather Working Group, or bluesign®-approved materials.*

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