2018–19 Scorecard

Each year, we set goals and track our progress; here are the highlights from our most recent results.

For 2019–20, we’ll be reviewing all the metrics and goals outlined on this page. We’ll determine if we need to make updates or changes about what we measure, how we measure it, and the process we use to create and revise goals. It’s important for our key performance indicators and goals to stay relevant to the issues that are most important to the Co-op; instead of taking a patchwork approach to updates, we plan to look broadly at all the goals and ensure they line-up to the future success of MEC and the values of the Co-op.

Highlights of 2018–19

Behind all the stories are the numbers. Here’s MEC at a glance over the last year:

  • Over 13 million products sold
  • 5.42 million members
  • 4.96 million members in Canada
  • 22 stores in Canada, plus mec.ca
  • 2,583 employees
  • Over 11,000 product repairs (plus thousands more small fixes we could turnaround while members were in store)
  • Over 94,000 people participated in MEC festivals, races, century rides, triathlons and clinics
  • 1.9 million pounds of waste diverted
  • $2.62 million in community investments
  • $44 million in community investments since 1987
  • $1.4 billion created in direct spin-off activity to the Canadian economy1

Some recent awards and recognition

  • Named Canada’s most trusted brand by the Gustavson Brand Trust Index
  • Selected as one of Canada’s top employers and greenest employers by MediaCorp
  • Recognized as Canada’s most reputable company by Reputation Institute


The largest part of our environmental and social footprint – we work to reduce these impacts as much as possible.

Person on a hiking trail wearing the MEC Cross Wind backpack
Icon of a t-shirt with the number 80

Fair Trade Certified™ MEC Label products

2018–19 goal: Increase
Result: 80; goal not achieved
2019–20 goal: Increase

In 2018–19, the MEC Label produced 80 Fair Trade Certified™ products, which means we paid into a special fund managed by the factory workers who made them. The workers themselves decide how to use the funds.

Part of the redesign project for the MEC Label was to refine the focus of what we create, and we ended up decreasing the overall number of styles we made in 2018. As a result, that meant the number of Fair Trade Certified styles also decreased from 92 to 80. While we didn’t meet our goal to increase the number of Fair Trade styles for MEC Label, we’re still proud to carry the most Fair Trade Certified USA apparel products of any Canadian retailer.

For 2019–20, we aim to increase the number of Fair Trade Certified MEC Label products, and to assess the next factory partner to propose to be part of our Fair Trade Certification program.

Icon of a shoe with flowers coming out of it, with the number 1131

Environmentally preferred products

2018–19 goal: Increase
Result: 1131; goal not achieved
2019–20 goal: Increase

Of the product styles we sold in 2018–19, 1131 were made with environmentally preferred materials (versus 1340 in 2017–18). This includes products that are PVC-free, contain only responsibly sourced down, or are made with more than 50% bluesign-approved materials, organically grown cotton or recycled content.

For next year’s report, we plan to update what this goal measures; we’ll shift to reporting on the percentage of products with environmentally preferred materials instead of the number of products to better reflect our assortment. Our new Enterprise Resource Planning system will provide better data to help make this possible. Sustainability is a major focus for MEC Label products and we want to stay accountable for the products we design and make, so the 2019–20 report will also break out the percentages of products with environmentally preferred materials by MEC Label and other brands we carry. We’ll also continue to have conversations with vendors around attributes and materials that we consider environmentally or socially preferable.

Icon of pants with the number 88%

Bluesign®-approved fabrics

2018–19 goal: 100%
Result: 88%; goal not achieved
2019–20 goal: 100%

For 2018–19, our aim was to have 100% bluesign®-approved textiles in MEC Label clothes and sleeping bags to lessen our impact on the environment. While we didn’t meet our goal this year – the bluesign percentage stayed the same at 88% – we’re continuing to strive towards 100%. In fact, for 2019–20, we plan to increase the scope of this goal and report on all MEC Label materials, not just apparel and sleeping bags.

We know this means that our overall 2019–20 percentage goal will decrease, but it’s more reflective of all the materials we create for the products we make. We still have a stretch goal of 100% bluesign-approved materials. We’ll continue to work toward it and encourage our suppliers to become bluesign certified too.

Icon of a tag with 0.92%

Products returned

2018–19 goal: <1% of sales
Result: 0.92%; goal achieved
2019–20 metric: Under review

In 2018–19, 0.92% of products purchased at MEC were returned because they were defective (as a percentage of sales). For 2019–20, we plan to adjust the way we capture this metric by reporting on the number of products returned as a percentage of total products sold. One way we help members get the most of their gear is our gear repair, and we did over 11,000 repairs for members in the last fiscal year.

Responsible sourcing

We believe our gear should be made in a way that respects the people who manufacture it.

Worker in a Fair Trade Certified factory
Icon of a sewing machine with the number 40%

Factories met or exceeded expectations

2018–19 goal: Increase
Result: 40%; goal achieved
2019–20 goal: Increase

MEC audits on a 6- to 18-month cycle. While this timeframe is standard in our industry, it makes it difficult to conduct a year-to-year comparison of factory audit performance. Audits are a great risk assessment tool, but they should be used as a starting point to dive into systemic issues a facility can face, such as sexual harassment, freedom of association and forced labour through recruitment fees. Where possible, we conduct joint audits with other brands that use the same factories and collaborate to provide compliance training and help factories implement leading labour and health and safety practices.

Based on our Code of Conduct standards for working conditions, 40% of MEC Label factories met or exceeded our expectations, compared to 28% in 2017–18. MEC has high expectations for factory conditions, and we work closely with each facility to create an action plan for any issues that come up during audits. The goal is to find long-term solutions to remediate issues. For 2019–20, we’re continuing to refine our sourcing base to make sure we’re working with facilities that have the technical skills to make MEC Label products and meet our standards.

Icon of a factory with the number 0

Factories with unacceptable violations

2018–19 goal: Zero
Result: Zero; goal achieved
2019–20 goal: Zero

Our goal is to have zero factories with outstanding unacceptable violations. When issues are discovered, we work with each factory through remediation plans to understand the root cause and foster an environment of continuous improvement.

In 2018, two facilities audited by MEC had unacceptable violations around transparency of wages and hours of work. These facilities were new to MEC production and our program that strives for continuous improvement (not a pass/fail system). Many brands’ standards state that a facility can’t work more than 60 hours a week; unfortunately, this has created a system that encourages facilities to create a second set of books to pass an audit. While MEC’s Supplier Code of Conduct does state a maximum of 60 hours a week, we emphasize the importance of transparency. If there’s excessive overtime at a facility, our sourcing team works with them to move our orders to the low production season.

Since the initial audit, MEC worked to build trust with these suppliers. Through verification audits, we were able to confirm accurate working hours, and close out the unacceptable violations. By the end of fiscal 2018–19, zero factories had unacceptable violations. MEC is still active in both facilities and we have remediation plans in place to work through other areas of non-compliance against our Supplier Code of Conduct.


Includes product transportation, business air travel, waste, facilities energy use (carbon) and water use.

Rooftop patio of MEC head office in Vancouver, BC

MEC head office is a LEED® Platinum Certified facility

Icon of a footprint shaped like a leaf, with the number 4309tCO2e

Carbon footprint

2018–19 goal: Reduce by 1.8%
Result: 1% reduction; goal not achieved
2019–20 goal: Reduce by 1.8%

In 2018–19, our overall footprint was 4309tCO2e, which reflects a 1% reduction compared to the previous year*. We set targets to reduce our carbon footprint from facilities, product transport and business air travel by 1.8% each year, and review this target annually in line with science-based targets.

Our product transport carbon footprint was 3700tCO2e, an 8% increase compared to last year. This increase is based on the addition of a new store location and more product categories and brands offered by MEC.

For facilities, operational carbon neutrality was achieved at all our locations through the purchase of renewable energy certificates. In 2018–19, two backup diesel generators ran for less than one hour to conduct annual testing and maintenance, resulting in 2 tons of emissions.

For air travel (of people, not products), emissions were 543tCO2e, achieving a 37% reduction compared to 2017–18. This reduction was the result of implementing a company policy around booking economy or premium economy class over business class, as well as an overall reduction of trips taken. This is a policy that we’re carrying forward in 2019–20.

Our carbon footprint from waste to landfill was 64tCO2e in 2018–19, up 9% from 58tCO2e in 2017–18. The increased waste was attributed to a new store location, an increase in product categories and brands being sold, and recycling infrastructure changes around soft plastics globally (which primarily affected Ontario).

*The 2017–18 carbon total has been amended. We had reported the total as 4367tCO2e but we discovered a calculation error and it was actually 4337tCO2e.

Icon of a drop, with the words: 29.2M total litres / 41.4 litres per sq ft

Litres of water

2018–19 goal: Decrease intensity (litres per sq ft*)
Result: 29.2M (total litres) and 41.4 (litres per sq ft); goal not achieved; data insufficient
2019–20 metric: New benchmark

We’ve had water efficiency initiatives in place at stores and head office for many years. As we’ve been collecting data on water to track our usage, we’ve learned a lot. Water metering and billing varies widely among locations, so this has been a challenging initiative to tackle. For 2018–19, the reporting was based on a sampling of locations. Moving forward, we plan to fill in the gaps of missing locations and establish a new benchmark as a result. We expect to have water consumption data for all locations and plan to report on a baseline for both water intensity and water use in the 2019–20 report, so we can compare previous results.

*Based on a sampling on locations

Icon of a recycling bin with 92.8%

Waste diverted

2018–19 goal: 92%
Result: 92.8%; goal achieved
2019–20 goal: 92%

We achieved an overall waste diversion rate of 92.8%, meaning that 92.8%% of waste we produced was recycled, composted or donated instead of going to landfills. Over 7.1 metric tons of used gear were donated to community and not-for-profit groups in 2018–19. This year, we reviewed and refined our data capture and tracking methods; we’ll continue to revise them to further improve and provide the most accurate waste data possible.

Member experience and community engagement

MEC exists to inspire and enable everyone to live active outdoor lifestyles.

Smiling runners crossing the start line at an MEC race
Icon of a person clicking their heels in the air

Member satisfaction

2018–19 goal: 90%
Result: Data unavailable
2019–20 metric: Under review

When we took a look at this metric for 2018–19, our teams concluded that it needs more analysis and a better way to measure it. As a Co-op, member satisfaction is incredibly important to us. Starting next year, we’ll assess this metric by using new digital tools that will help us measure member satisfaction more accurately. Watch for a new member satisfaction metric in next year’s annual report, which will capture the changes about how we measure this key performance indicator at MEC.

Icon of a backpack

In-stock items

2018–19: No longer reporting on this metric

This goal tracked items on the store floor and available for purchase. Part of our prep for next year’s annual report will be to review the current metrics and goals we report on and make sure they effectively capture our performance. When we reviewed this goal for 2018–19, our teams concluded that this metric was unreliable and needed to be replaced. Meeting members’ expectations around product availability is important to us, and our teams are working hard to improve the ways members get gear, whether they’re shopping online or in stores. Looking ahead, we’ll see if there are better ways to monitor and measure product availability, so we can continue to hold ourselves accountable on this front.

Icon of a person on someone's shoulder with the number 37.6%

Active members

2018–19 goal: 38.6%
Result: 37.6%; goal not achieved
2019–20 goal: 34.7%

Of the members who made a purchase at MEC over the past 10 years, 37.6% of them made a purchase in 2018–19. Over the last 10 years, the number of active members has been steadily increasing. So while we saw a decrease in the percentage of active members (last year it was 39%), we also had a 1.4% increase in the number of active members in 2018, compared to the previous year.

Based on the recent growth of new members, and understanding the rate that new members typically return to make more purchases, we’ve set our 2019–20 goal for active members to be 34.7%.

Icon of a person in a backpack with the number $2.62M

Community investments

2019–20 goal: New metric coming

In 2018–19, MEC contributed $2.62 million to organizations focused on conservation and outdoor recreation to make getting active outside easier. Since 1987, we’ve contributed over $44 million to community programs and organizations across Canada.

Looking ahead, we plan to measure the impact of our community program as a whole. Our community metric will track the number of people getting active outside from MEC All Out’s partnerships and programs (our goal 2019–20 is 354,000 people), along with the number of people learning outdoor skills, responsible recreation practices and environmental stewardship (our goal for 2019–20 is 46,900 people).

As of December 2018, we’re a proud member of Imagine Canada’s Caring Company Program, as well as the London Benchmarking Group Canada – the global standard in measuring community investment – to help us measure the impact of our community program as a whole.

Our community investment budget will be set in the same way as any other budget in the Co-op. It’ll take into account the prior year’s performance, our priorities for the year ahead and how effectively we can scale our impact in communities from coast to coast. It will not be based on a calculation in relation to our revenue.

Working at MEC

With every conversation, every piece of advice, every transaction, bike fitting, clinic or event, we bring it.

MEC staffer wearing a vest and smiling in the climbing section
Icon of high-five

Employee engagement

2018–19 goal: Increase
Result: Data unavailable
2019–20 metric: Under review

Having great staff is what sets MEC apart. That’s why we hire and support people who are passionate about the outdoors, bring that passion into our culture, and are committed to meeting the needs of members. In the past, we used an annual survey to tell us how well MEC supports and engages employees; in 2018–19, we moved away from that annual survey format. Our People Experience team has created a way for staff to share ideas and concerns through an ongoing program called Listen, Act and Share. Since Listen, Act and Share started in 2017, staff have reached out with more than 2,500 pieces of feedback or concerns; more than half of these have been addressed and closed. Feedback from staff has helped us adjust our processes and improve the way we work to serve members.

Looking ahead, we remain committed to receiving valuable input from our staff and addressing the concerns they raise. We’re updating the Listen, Act and Share initiative by revamping the tool used to gather information. This will allow us to more accurately report on employee engagement and progress to resolve staff concerns. The new tool will also invite staff to provide real-time input on products and services that we plan to roll out to members. As part of this work, we will be introducing a new employee engagement metric in 2019 and will report on the results in next year’s annual report.


Our goal is to be financially viable in the short-term and the long-term, and we’ll continue on our path of measured growth.

View of staircase and product displays at MEC Toronto Flagship
Icon of an arrow with 2.43

Inventory turns

2018–19 goal: 2.59
Result: 2.43; goal not achieved
2019–20 goal: 2.39

This metric relates to our supply chain. It captures the number of times we sold through and replenished our inventory, and shows how efficiently we managed our inventory and were able to generate sales. If the result is much higher than the target set, it may indicate low stock available for members. If the result is much lower, it may indicate issues around turning our inventory into revenue. We always work to find the balance of providing available inventory to members while managing our costs effectively.

Icon of a register with $462M

Annual sales

2018–19 goal: Increase
Result: $462 million; goal achieved
2019–20 goal: Increase

Our sales were $462 million, an increase of 1.7% year-over-year. Sales have increased year-over-year since 2011. One notable area was our omnichannel sales, which grew 12.6% over last year. Omnichannel shopping is a key part of how we get members the gear they want when they want it, be it online or through our Service Centre. Our gross margin also increased from 31.5% in 2017–18 to 32.3% last year.

While sales grew in 2018–19, the result was an operating deficit of $23.5 million, due in part to the year being a time of intense capital and non-capital investments. Within the operating deficit there were non-recurring restructuring expenses of $8.5 million and an impairment loss on computer software of $4.1 million.

At the end of a fiscal year, MEC can choose to return surplus earnings to members through a patronage return, which increases the value of members’ patronage share accounts. MEC may also choose to declare a share redemption by buying back some patronage shares from members’ share accounts and returning the money to members in the form of gift cards that equal their share redemption amount. In 2018–19, we decided not to declare a patronage return or a share redemption as we determined that retaining capital within MEC would provide a better long-term outcome.

At the end of fiscal 2018–19, your Co-op:

  • Owned $372 million in assets (cash, inventory, property, equipment, accounts receivable and other assets)
  • Owed $183 million (payables, gift cards, loans and obligations)
  • Had $191 million in equity (member and patronage shares)

We believe that by staying committed to our purpose and values, we will continue to differentiate ourselves as a leader in the market. Moving forward, we will continue to keep our members’ needs at the forefront of every decision, while making prudent financial decisions that ensure your Co-op is financially healthy for the next generation of members.

1Carnegie Mellon University Green Design Institute. (2019) Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) Canada 2002 (105 sectors) Producer model [Internet], Available from: <http://www.eiolca.net/> [Accessed 5 Jun, 2019]