October 19, 2021 - Canadian outdoor retailer MEC (Mountain Equipment Company) honours its rich history as it reveals a new logo. The modern but familiar take on a well-loved icon brings the signature peaks back to the company. More than a logo, the peaks represent the future of the company and its commitment to core values: providing the best technical gear, offering expert advice and helping to build outdoor communities. Many long-time MEC fans may recall the day in 2013 when MEC transitioned from the beloved peak design to the more ubiquitous square. The decision was divisive, and over the past eight years, the message from the MEC community was clear: bring back the peaks! The company listened.
A year ago, the company appointed long-time member Eric Claus as CEO and Chairman. He and the team faced the daunting task of righting the ship and setting the stage for the next 50 years. "The symbolic peaks represent MEC's unwavering commitment to inspiring and enabling people to get active outside by providing trusted outdoor gear and advice. We're also working toward aggressive goals for product sustainability and supporting changemaking outdoor organizations, while ensuring we have the best team to deliver exceptional experiences across our business", said Claus.
"Over the last 12 months, we've invested time, energy and resources into re-organizing the company around our core values and staying laser-focused on what makes MEC unique, and I am proud of what we have achieved. We moved the needle on all we committed to, and we've seen a very positive increase in membership numbers."
Building and celebrating community has always been at MEC's core, as well as recognizing long-term staff and MEC's unique culture. A re-launch of in-store workshops and events is in the works and MEC's ambassador program is poised for growth. The company also launched MEC Adventures, a program that enables employees to make "maybe one day" adventures a reality through extended leave from work, extra funds or gear to support personal epic outdoor adventures.
Over the last year of business, MEC has focused its efforts on sustainability. The company is committed to reducing its environmental footprint across operations. Currently, MEC is in the process of building a climate action plan in collaboration with the Outdoor Industry Association's Climate Action Corps to address climate change. MEC's action plan will align with the International Panel on Climate Change and science-based targets (warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius). Further to this, since joining, MEC made it a priority to create sustainable material targets for MEC Label, which were launched publicly in April 2021. Progress so far: 25% of apparel is Fair Trade Factory Certified™, 30% of apparel is made of recycled polyester, 91% of apparel is made of bluesign®-approved material, and natural fibres are either 100% organically grown or Tencel.
Further sustainability goals include:
Fair Trade: MEC is increasing its commitment to Fair Trade. By 2025, their goal is to have 50% of MEC Label clothing made in a Fair Trade Certified factory. The total contribution through Fair Trade premiums is over $230,000, which goes directly to factory workers. Textile Recycling Pilot in Canada: MEC has joined a recycling pilot program with Fashion Takes Action (supported by Environment & Climate Change Canada) to better understand the barriers currently to a closed loop textile recycling system in Canada. Fair Labor Association (FLA): MEC Label has been part of FLA since 2005. The FLA has helped improve the lives of millions of workers and will continue to help many more thanks to its ongoing programs. According to Chief Product Officer, Adam Ketcheson, "Merchandising technical outdoor gear is at the core of the business. The new Fall/Winter 2021 assortment is focused on making sure we cater to the experienced user, with the largest assortment of backcountry ski touring and technical ice climbing product available on the market, but also making sure that we have the gear for new families who are just getting introduced to sports like Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and winter camping. As part of this process, MEC Label has been strengthened with more technical products. The launch of our 50th anniversary collection was a celebration of familiar classics and favourites with a modernapproach. The attention to detail that went into the collection speaks to all we stand for. It incorporates more sustainable bluesign-approved fabrics, recycled fleece, organic cotton and Fair Trade Certified products; it embodies where we want to continue going with MEC Label."
In its 50th anniversary year, MEC's Outdoor Impact Program has been a priority, with a $1M commitment to support outdoor organizations. Highlights since the launch include:
The introduction of the MEC Avalanche Safety Grant. Aimed at non-profit organizations that serve racialized communities, it will allow more people to access the winter backcountry safely. Helping Spirit North reach 2,700 Indigenous youth across 40 communities, including 953 in-school and 336 after-school sessions, knowledge and skill building events with students, parents, educators and community. Helping Protect Our Winters (POW) Canada expanded its educational programming and training across the country, growing its membership to 21,797 climate action advocates. MEC funding also supported the execution of the POW Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, recognizing that diversity and equity in the outdoor space are integral to solving climate change. This includes advocacy work on Bill C-12 and the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, likely the single most important piece of climate policy ever passed. The release of the first CPAWS Report Card for Canada. The report card tracks and assesses how Canada did against its target of protecting 17% of land and 10% of the ocean in Canada, by the end of 2020, on the way to protecting 30% by 2030. CPAWS is committed to helping Canada meet its targets. "A consistent message from members and from staff was the symbolism and importance of the mountain logo. It was critical to ground the brand in its values while appreciating the past and looking to the future. This has been a phenomenal project to be a part of," said Michele Guimond, VP Marketing. "The reinstatement of the peaks is more than just a design moment. The original peaks have been modernized and the new logo feels familiar but future-forward, which captures who we are as a brand and where we are going as a company."
To develop a design that delivered, MEC worked with Canadian graphic design agency, Hulse & Durrell, a company specializing in brand identity with a unique connection to the value of iconic Canadian logo design.
Hulse & Durrell shared, "It was clear from the outset that the mountain should return. This icon was carried through four decades of adventures and became a Canadian badge of honour."
MEC is Canada's go-to place for outdoor gear, know-how and inspiration. Combining high-quality apparel and equipment with expert advice and firsthand experience, MEC supports a wide range of activities including camping, snow sports, watersports, cycling, climbing, hiking, running and travel. Established in 1971, MEC has been a strong backer of community initiatives and has invested $45 million (and counting) into non-profit organizations that support outdoor recreation and conservation. For more information, visit https://www.mec.ca/en and follow @mec, or visit one of our stores nationwide.