Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) was conceived by a small group of Canadian climbers who wanted a place to buy gear not carried by conventional retailers: gear for mountaineering, rock climbing, ski touring, and hiking. In 1971, these six initial members founded Mountain Equipment Co-op. Today MEC has around 3 million members and is the largest retail co-operative in Canada.
MEC has a strong initiative in sustainability and ethical sourcing. They choose lower impact materials (organically grown cotton, recycled polyester, and PVC-free) for their products and by doing so they not only reduce their footprint on the planet, but communicate responsible buying to consumers. Their Ethical Sourcing Program is dedicated to building sustainable relationships with suppliers and to improve conditions in factories.
Each year, MEC funds conservation, access, and other environmental initiatives. They also promote local initiatives in ethical consumerism.