Hikers climbing up a steep rocky slop together

Stronger together: sustainability goals from brands and partners

As an outdoor retailer, MEC is keenly aware of the environmental impacts products have during their lifecycle: making polyester yarn, dyeing fabric, producing backpacks… the list goes on and on. MEC Label has set sustainability goals to keep doing better, but what about other brands MEC works with?

Turns out they’re just as busy finding ways to do better. MEC asked brands and community partners to share what they’re working on this year.

Here are their responses:

Edelrid – #ClimbGreen Initiative

We want to prove that sustainability doesn’t mean compromising on safety or performance. All products in our #ClimbGreen collection are made from more sustainable materials or offer a particularly long service life.

Some examples? Our dynamic ropes are bluesign® certified, which means 89% less water used, 63% less CO2 emitted, and 62% less energy and chemicals used during manufacturing (compared to traditional rope). We offer the only PFC-free dry treated ropes, and aim to convert all of our dry treated ropes to PFC-free by 2023. And we’ve made climbing’s first non-anodized carabiners to help reduce toxic chemicals associated with anodization.

#ClimbGreen gear highlights

  • Edelrid Neo 3R Rope (coming to mec.ca): The world’s first recycled climbing rope. It uses 50% recycled material, which would typically go to the landfill during manufacturing.
  • Edelrid Moe III Harness: One of nine harnesses that are bluesign® certified from Edelrid, which is currently the only harness manufacturer with a bluesign certified harness.
Climber with the new Edelrid recycled climbing rope

Edelrid’s new Neo 3R Rope in action. The 3R stands for reduce, reuse, recycle.

When you choose products made with bluesign® approved fabrics, you can feel confident that they were made in the safest possible way for the planet, workers and you.

Salomon – PFC-free running and hiking shoes

Our entire collection of running and hiking shoes is now PFC- or PFC EC-free. In the textile and footwear world, PFCs have long been used for water repellency – but studies have shown that PFCs are harmful to the environment and people.

With a lot of development, we found and created less toxic solutions that ensure waterproofability and performance. It was a delicate balance to do both exceptionally well, but we’ve done it. Removing PFCs from Salomon products is good for people and the environment, and a win-win in sustainable product development.

Popular PFC-free footwear

PFC-free means eliminating PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) and PFC ECs (perfluorinated chemicals of environmental concern), which are used for waterproofing but known to persist in the environment.

Big Agnes – joining the Climate Action Corps

For years, we’ve focused on incorporating more sustainable materials into our products – but this year marks a change. Big Agnes recently joined the Outdoor Industry Association’s Climate Action Corps because we believe it’s important for our industry to work together to address climate issues and sustainability. As a smaller brand with fewer resources, it provides a framework and tools for us to measure our current impacts and helps us set future goals.

New and innovative gear from Big Agnes

  • Big Agnes Fly Creek UL Tent: Solution-dyed fabrics mean 50% water reduction, 80% energy consumption and 80% fewer chemicals during manufacturing.
  • Big Agnes TwisterCane Bio Foam Pad (coming to mec.ca): Made from sugarcane-based EVA foam that’s lightweight, warm and from a renewable resource. The sugarcane is grown in a net carbon-negative process.
Camper in the Big Agnes Fly Creek tent

Fly Creek UL Tent: Solution-dyed fabric uses less energy and water during manufacturing, and adds UV-resistance.

Arc’teryx – reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity

Our big goal is to reduce our GHG emissions intensity by 65% by 2030. This is approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative and will help ensure that Arc’teryx does its part to keep the increase in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees as set by the Paris Agreement.

What are we doing to reach this goal? As much as we possibly can! Partnering and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency in our supply chain, continuing to build the most durable product on the market with lower impact materials, and scaling new, less carbon-intense business models like Used Gear.

Products made with lower-impact materials from Arc’teryx

Dope dying, also known as solution dying, is a non-traditional dye method that adds pigment at the polymer level to save water, reduce CO2 emissions and increase fabric colourfastness.

The North Face – reduce carbon impact of products by 30%

Creating products represents more than half of our carbon emissions, so we’re focusing on making our products more sustainable. The North Face is one of the largest apparel brands to set stringent science-based targets. Our goal? To reduce the carbon impact of our products by 30% by 2030.

To get there, we’re making products with recycled, regenerative, organic or renewable content. We’re partnering with our supply chain to support them in reducing their environmental impacts. Plus we’re encouraging consumers to take care of and repair gear, and are focused on eventually recycling used products into new ones.

Recycled content in action

Camper arranging The North Face Eco Trail sleeping bags in a tent

The new Eco Trail collection of tents and sleeping bags are made of recycled materials.

CPAWS – protect 30% of Canada’s land and ocean

Canada has committed to protecting 25% of its land and ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030. Delivering on this promise would be important progress toward protecting at least half of Canada’s land, freshwater and ocean – which is what science shows is needed to conserve nature and tackle climate change.

We’re engaging the public in demanding the investments needed to achieve these goals, as well as supporting protection campaigns across the country. Ensuring that Canada follows through on its promise of nature protection, climate action, and Indigenous-led conservation will put Canada on the path to a healthy, prosperous and equitable future.

How can people get involved?

Science shows protecting at least half of Canada’s land, freshwater and ocean is what’s needed to conserve nature and tackle climate change.

Steller sea lion colony basking on rocks in the sun

Steller sea lion colony. Photo: Ken Canning and CPAWS

Protect Our Winters Canada: climate action policies

From a climate action perspective, POW Canada is building momentum on three key policy initiatives for 2021. The first is the Canadian Climate Accountability Act, and lobbying for amendments and passage of Bill C-12. The second is carbon pricing, and the education and advocacy work to build national support in the face of legal challenges by several provinces. Finally, we’re focusing on finance and divestment, and are launching our national #BankOnNature campaign to highlight the opportunity for massive CO2 reductions through divestment.

How can people get involved?

  • Join us! Become a member of POW Canada – it’s free, it’s easy and it just might help save the world. The success of these initiatives is largely dependent on the size and engagement of our membership.

“For 2021, we’ll build off our massive policy wins and leverage the enthusiasm of our members to push even harder for meaningful policy solutions to climate change.” – Mike Douglas, professional skier and POW Canada Board Chair

Sophie Merritt
Sophie Merritt

MEC sustainability leader who’s happiest hunting for waves to surf or pow to ski. Always humbled and inspired by nature. Pronouns: she/her.