Making MEC Label clothing and gear involves people and partners from around the world. We have high standards around quality, value and sustainability for members and the people who make our products. MEC values transparency as it builds trust, which is the foundation of the work we do with factories and external partners, and helps drive positive change in the outdoor industry.
Factories MEC works with
The MEC Label team works with dozens of factories to create everything from technical alpine packs to travel-friendly pants. Some we’ve worked with for a long time, such as factories in Vietnam and Taiwan that have made MEC gear for over 30 years. Others are newer to us.
We’re proud of the people behind our products, so we’ve been a part of Fashion Revolution since 2017. We’ve showcased some of the factory workers who create products for MEC members, and shared a deep dive into just how many people it takes to make a backpack.
2020 supplier disclosure list
Starting in 2008, MEC made a commitment to its members to disclose the names and addresses of factories that manufacture MEC Label products. We rely on our supply chain partners to commit and adopt MEC’s social compliance policy and supplier code of conduct:
To drive meaningful change, we understand that we need to work with our supply chain partners to meet the requirements set out in our policies.
The factories on the list labelled tier one represent 100% of our finished good supply chain (which means everything with the MEC Label on it goes through one of these factories). But supply chains aren’t as simple as a single factory making all the parts of a product – there are subcontractors, raw materials suppliers, and manufacturers that create trims, zippers, buttons and more.
So to continue MEC’s journey into supply chain transparency, MEC added our tier one subcontractor supply chain and our tier two material supply-chain partners to the supplier disclosure list in September 2017. Our commitment to members is to keep disclosing our supply chain partners, and to expand this list to provide greater transparency about who we work with.
MEC updates its supplier list twice a year; the last update was January 2020. This list fluctuates over time to reflect changes in product seasonality and our supplier base. If you have questions, please get in touch with our social and environmental responsibility team.
Industry groups we work with
Collaboration is a big part of the outdoor industry. To help MEC push the boundaries of what’s possible, we work with many groups who share our vision and are finding ways to make things better. The list below includes just some of the programs and partners we work with:
Americas Group: We’re a member of the Central America Committee, a multi-stakeholder forum that works to tackle systemic issues in Central America’s garment export industry that no single organization can address alone. It includes brands, international manufacturers, labour rights and women’s organizations, and has focused on topics like sexual harassment in the workplace, child care for working parents, and freedom of association.
Better Work Program: MEC supports this program in Vietnam and Cambodia. It’s a partnership between the UN’s International Labour Organization and the International Finance Corporation, and it brings together brands, governments, factory owners, unions and employees to improve working conditions in the garment industry.
bluesign®: MEC has worked with bluesign since 2005. Bluesign’s role is to assess supply chain inputs, so that MEC Label can find ways to reduce the chemical and resource impacts that go into making materials. When you buy something that is bluesign-approved, it tells you that the facilities, processes and chemicals that went into making the materials are held to the highest standards for environmental and worker safety, and that it was made with minimum impact on people and the planet.
Fair Factories Clearinghouse: This group hosts all our social compliance data, audit questionnaire and results. It’s a way to collaborate with other brands who are using the same factories as us, so we can reduce audit fatigue in the supply chain.
Fair Labour Association: MEC joined the FLA in 2005. It’s a collaborative effort of socially responsible businesses, universities and civil society organizations, and the shared goal is to protect workers’ rights.
Fair Trade USA: When you see a Fair Trade Certified seal, it means that item was made by people who work in safe and healthy conditions, and who have a voice in their workplace. It also means that it’s a workplace where women are treated equally. We introduced our first Fair Trade Certified MEC Label product in 2014, and we’re still going strong.
Outdoor Industry Association: We’re a member of the OIA’s sustainability working group, which includes about 150 brands and suppliers working on a range of global, system-wide challenges, from tackling supply chain emissions to managing harmful chemicals.
Social Labor Convergence Project: MEC isn’t the only brand conducting audits at factories – we’re just one of many. We signed on to this Project in 2016 because we believe that joining forces is the best way to improve working conditions. The SLCP created a “converged assessment framework” (basically, a super detailed assessment that brands and factories can use, verify and share with each other). Freeing up time, money and effort usually spent on audits means everyone can focus on new ways to improve working conditions.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition: This group aims to reduce the environmental and social impacts of clothing and footwear, and we’ve been a member since they started in 2011. The SAC created the Higg Index to measure these impacts of products, brands, retailers and factories, and together we’re creating a standardized way to communicate them to consumers.
Top photo: Pratibha Syntex Ltd., a Fair Trade Certified factory that makes MEC Label clothing