Check the label – where was your shirt made? If it’s a recent purchase with an MEC logo on it, then it was made by one of the factories in the list below.
MEC works with dozens of factories to create everything from technical alpine packs to travel-friendly skirts. 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. Our social responsibility team is dedicated to improving working conditions in factories that make the MEC-label clothing and gear you see in stores and online.
Contact with factories
Teams at MEC are in regular contact with factories by phone, email or in-person meetings. When the social responsibility team goes to factories, we walk the factory floor, talk to managers and workers (with interpreters, if needed), and address any outstanding issues. Other MEC staff visit factories regularly to check on production and discuss new products, and the social responsibility team trains them to identify and report any issues back so we can follow up.
Our factories are audited by a third-party at least once every 18 months. In each country, we work with local auditors who speak the language and are experts in local laws and practices. They spend one to two days at each factory to inspect conditions, go over payroll records, and talk to workers.
We don’t want to make products in factories with serious issues or poor management. If we do find something serious, we want to see issues corrected and offer training and support to help solve problems; automatically leaving a factory that has a problem doesn’t improve workers’ lives overall. However, if we can’t reach an agreement on remediation with the factory, then we move our business to a place that can meet our workplace standards. Our aim is to build trust with factories, so we work closely with them throughout the audit and any improvement plans.
Our working relationship with factories goes beyond our own audits. Though MEC is relatively small in the world of manufacturing, we find creative ways to have an impact. Some recent examples:
- At bike factories in China and Taiwan, MEC and REI worked with trainers to give seminars to workers around fire safety and chemical management. This training helps factories take ownership of action plans for improvements.
- We worked closely with two factories in Vietnam to build monthly production capacity plans – this work enabled the factories to make MEC-label products and decrease worker overtime.
- We’re finding ways to collaborate with other brands that share our values and are part of a pilot project to address corporate responsibility across the entire bike industry, which includes creating audit standards (the pilot is with nine brands and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry).
- To help us make good sourcing decisions, we have a tiered system that ranks factories on criteria such as safe working conditions, quality, and delivery. We want to make sure we’re in the best factories we can be in for the products we make, so we take these rankings into account when we choose where to place our business.
- We created our own line of Fair Trade Certified clothing, and paid a premium into a special fund that workers collectively decide how to spend.
Many factories have programs that support worker well-being, and we encourage them to share the good work they do. When factories find a way to overcome a common challenge (e.g., encouraging workers to use needle guards on sewing machines), then we pass that info along to other factories.
Some specific initiatives to promote worker well-being from the factories we work with :
- Thailand: a notable factory offers training to workers on work-life balance, dealing with stress, and meditation.
- China: a bike lending program, social insurance coverage and chemical management, or joining groups like the Fair Labor Association or the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
- El Salvador: benefits programs such as college tuition for workers’ children, medical insurance, and onsite dental clinic visits.
- Vietnam: worker field trips to the beach and family day celebrations, joining the Fair Labor Association.
- India: educational classes for workers, community gardens, a solar-powered system that directs energy back to the grid, and health clinics for workers and their extended families, being a part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
2017 MEC Supplier Disclosure List
In 2008, Mountain Equipment Co-op made a commitment to its members with the intention to disclose the names and addresses of factories that manufacture MEC-brand products. We rely on our supply chain partners who are listed here to commit and adopt MEC’s Responsible Sourcing policy and procedures. In order 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. This is an expectation of all supply chain partners: to adhere and support our Supplier Code of Conduct. In an effort to continue MEC’s journey into supply chain transparency, MEC has added our Tier 1 subcontractor supply chain and our material supply-chain partners to the supplier disclosure list in September 2017. While this list is not exhaustive, it is our commitment to our members that we will continue to disclose our supply chain partners; working to expand this list to include trims, component and subcomponent manufacturers.
MEC updates its supplier list twice a year. 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 responsibility team.