May 13, 2016 07:00 ET

MEC Adds 30 New Fair Trade Styles to Collection and Secures a Second Fair Trade Certified Factory

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 13, 2016) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

May is Fair Trade Month in Canada and the country's leading outdoor retailer, MEC, is proud to announce 30 new Fair Trade Certified™ (FTC) styles, a new Fair Trade factory partner and expansion of the MEC Fair Trade program into Thailand.

In 2014, MEC released their first two MEC-label Fair Trade Certified™ styles working with an existing Fair Trade factory in India called Pratibha Syntex. The following year MEC worked with another factory-partner Penguin Apparels, and Fair Trade USA to help the factory obtain Certification. Now all of MEC's factory partners in India are working under the Fair Trade program. This year, the Co-op is expanding their efforts to Thailand.

As a part of the program, MEC pays a financial premium on each MEC Fair Trade Certified product. This Premium is deposited directly into a fund managed by the factory employees. The factory workers democratically elect a Fair Trade Committee that assesses the worker's most pressing needs and identifies projects that can address those needs using the Fair Trade funds. The factory workers make a collective decision on how to spend the funds. At the Pratibha Syntex facility in India, employees made the decision to use the Fair Trade premium dollars contributed by MEC and other participating brands to purchase 2,711 rain coats for monsoon season.

"Beyond MEC's own social responsibility activities, Fair Trade USA will itself monitor and audit the factory against the Fair Trade standards to drive additional improvements," explains MEC Social Compliance Manager Samantha Kuchmak. "Fair Trade USA also provides training to factory management and workers to address occupational health and safety issues. Workers learn about their employment rights, workplace communications and opportunities for spending the additional Fair Trade Premiums."

"When you buy a Fair Trade Certified product, it's your guarantee that the product is traded in a more ethical way," said Maya Spaull, Director of Apparel & Home Goods at Fair Trade USA. "What that means is safe working conditions, better livelihoods, and protection for the environment. We are so proud to be working with MEC on their growing commitment to Fair Trade, offering great quality and style while making a positive contribution towards the communities working hard to manufacture their products."

Look for special Fair Trade hangtags to identify Fair Trade Certified™ products at MEC stores. See highlights from our Fair Trade Certified™ apparel collection at

About MEC

Canada's leading outdoor retailer, MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) is passionate about inspiring and enabling everyone to lead active outdoor lifestyles. From city streets and yoga studios to backcountry trails and pristine waterways, MEC matches people with the expertise, experience, enthusiasm and gear they need for camping, snowsports, watersports, cycling, climbing, hiking, running, yoga and fitness. Through our commitment to 1% for the Planet, every year member purchases allow us to donate one percent of sales ($3.4 million in 2015) to non-profit organizations that work to get Canadians outside and active, or conserve ecologically and recreationally important areas. MEC has over 4 million members across Canada. Become part of MEC with a $5 lifetime membership and visit us at our 18 stores, at and our Shop MEC iPhone® app.

About Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA is a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ label signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from over 70 countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides critical capacity-building programs at origin, and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. Visit for more information.

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