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November 25, 2008

Comments

corey tracey

I am not sure how you cannot call this censorship .. the articles written detailed serious abuses facing chinese labor. They deserved to be shared in just the fashion they were originally written.
MEC needs to take the issues at stake a little more seriously perhaps, a profitable investment opportunity ... or a real commitment to global health ... ?

HC

Hi Corey,

Thanks for you opinion and support. We'll republish the material after we complete our discussions with the factories.

Cheers

cercle sabrina

Good evening MEC members,
I would like to let you know that I have been to your shop on broadway, vancouver BC today and the service was excellent.
No only, your choices are great and expansive but also the customer service is superb.
well done

sabrina

MT

You say "No one at MEC has ever asked me to nix a blog"

So what happened to the blog titled Bike Industry - Green & Hype, wherein you attacked the alleged backward sourcing in the bicycle industry?

Both members and others pushed back against your claims and also came out in defense of the many local bike shops that MEC will hurt with it's entry into the bike market.

As Director of Ethical Sourcing, I ask you, is it ethical for MEC to take down dissenting views by members when those
views do not agree with MEC's business objectives?

MEC has a lot to answer for when it comes to ethical behavior, not the least of which is using its tax free status to bully existing businesses whose market share MEC wants to take. And yes I mean bully!

In your deleted blog you make the sweeping statement that the "bike industry from an ethical sourcing perspective has got to be one of the most backward industry sectors". You then urge your readers to challenge their local bike shop about the conditions their bikes are made in because "most of them will sputter like a deflating tire".

You offer no proof or evidence other than your say-so that there is no mention on manufacturer websites about working conditions. Since when does the fact that someone doesn't say they do something mean they don't do it? Just because MEC hammers its "ethical" causes in its marketing does not mean that other companies need to do the same.

You then went on to say how at MEC "We often joke amongst ourselves about the halo effect the green image of bikes has on everything associated with the bike industry". How dare you diminish all the advocacy and other good work that is being done by the bike industry!

I can tell you that we often talk about the halo effect around MEC's image that allows it to get away with never ending expansion and the impact of that on small local businesses. However for us, it is no joke.

When, in answer to your blog, a member suggests that ethically sourced bikes may be readily available at local bike shops with brands like Trek, Cannondale, Devinci and Rocky Mountain you dismiss him and those brands with "Are there ANY performance bikes truly made in Canada or the US? Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to that". What arrogance.

As Director of Sourcing you should know the answer to that, but of course you aren't saying. Instead, preferring to leave the readers to think that no such bikes are available. That is intentionally misleading and it is untrue, because there are bikes made in Canada and the US.

When your readers ask about MEC's competitive model and the controversy around MEC getting into bikes you show more of your arrogance and that of MEC. You say that "The controversy is MEC is not small and local. In some ways it's similar to a big box operation in terms of its impact on small and local outdoor retailers. It's for them to compete with MEC."

Aahhhh, I think you forgot to mention that whole thing about MEC not paying corporate tax and the uneven playing field that creates for those small and local retailers. Oh yeah, I forgot this is MEC's blog. Need to stay on message. MEC good, everyone else bad.

You then go on to say that "The impact on local bike stores may be real". So dam the torpedoes and lets blow those suckers out of the water. Just like the outdoor clothing retailers that MEC put out of business. Ethical??

Several respondents to your statements about the industry lament the loss of local shops that more than serve the market in a free and competitive environment. You characterize these responses saying "You rightfully want a small run down store". The respondent never said that. Just more arrogance and nonsense as you frame every comment to suit your purpose.

Other respondents also spoke out against MEC getting into bikes, one saying "I personally think it would be more unethical to put many existing bike shops out of business". Another said "MEC's intention to sell bicycles is irresponsible" and This recession is going to put enough bike shops out of business without MEC pouncing on them."

Your answer (or should I say non answer)? "MEC's impact on bike stores is sensitive and controversial. MEC selling bikes will likely make the market more competitive. This is an issue that has been dealt with at length by MEC's Board."

There are 60 bike shops in Vancouver. How is it likely MEC with it's tax advantage and scale is going to increase competition. There is no lack of competition! There will just be unfair competition, But then again, dam the torpedoes the Board has decided we can blow them out of the water. No other reason is given.

Aahh, but then we come to one of your last comments, " I'm obviously bias towards MEC selling bikes as I need MEC to do well in order for me to pay my mortgage and my daughter's Montessori fees".

I hadn't heard that MEC was on the ropes with its nearly $240,000,000 in sales and needed to get into bikes to make payroll.

What bunk. What about the mortgage and business loans that the small bike shop owner has?

Oh yeah. MEC good, everyone else bad. The bike shop owner doesn't deserve a roof over his head and doesn't need to send his kid to Montessori.

MEC might start to think about Ethical Selling as well as Ethical Sourcing.

A couple of things pulled from MEC's website:

Definition

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, and cultural NEEDS

7th Principle: Concern for the Community
While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for sustainable development of their communities.

Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others.

and finally

We've grown from a small business to a big one, yet we remain a different kind of business. We're not working to make big surpluses, just enough to sustain what we do.

Don't you think it is time to WALK THE WALK and not just talk the talk?????????

Robert Leponge

I'm a bit confused here, so maybe you could clarify for me. There was a blog entry regarding how unethical and backward the bike industry is in relation to it's sourcing practices, and that same blog entry extolled the virtue and goodness of MEC and it's "ethical" sourcing practices. Now that blog entry has been pulled, and the explanation provided above seems to be about as genuine as the corporate PR we hear from the good people at Monsanto. So what's up? Did the fact that you chose to insult an entire industry of pretty good people backfire a bit, or did one of your Chinese vendors perhaps complain? You know, China, the country that has a worse Human Rights record than the Bush Whitehouse. The same country that has the highest rates of birth defects in the world due to it's industrial practices. Ah yes, how ethical. I think my desire to spend any money on your "ethically" manufactured Chinese products just vanished.

HC

Hi MT and Robert

This is not a MEC Corporate blog (please read the introduction and blogging rules). This is my blog and it reflects my view of the world. Again, no one at MEC asked or hinted that I pull it.

I've pulled the blog and wrote the reason why. Visit the original blog.

There is a movement amongst a handful of US brands, retailers and MEC to focus on bike manufacturing and it's challenges. Dealers, distributers and bike associations are welcome to participate as the issues facing these factories require a collective effort to improve. As well, I would be open to discuss our audit findings of these factories with legimitate and concerned parties. Just email me (note I will not disclose the factory identity or product for confidentiality reasons).

Andrea

I really agree with MT's comment about 'ethical selling' - MEC has become a box store and a bully. Local bike shops are really important for cycling and for neighbourhoods in general, and how are they supposed to remain viable when MEC sells the same products for less than half price? MEC's pricing behaviour constitutes an arrogant and selfish way for us, as a collective, to behave. And talking smack about the local bike shops that we're endangering is just plain tacky. I've long had misgivings about being an MEC member, but this is really making me rethink my membership. The co-op doesn't really seem to be about fair value and durable gear anymore, but rather about the lowest possible price on lifestyle accoutrements for rich people. Of course members want low prices... but what's noble or ethical about providing greenwashed gear so cheap that we're the only business left standing?

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