The Mountain Equipment Co-op store on West Broadway in Vancouver. (Google Streetview)

MEC not in rush to drop gun-linked company

MEC not rushing to drop gun-linked company as it weighs membership feedback

The head of Mountain Equipment Co-op says the company isn’t rushing to make a decision about its supply chain after consumers on social media connected brands sold at its stores to a major U.S. gun manufacturer.

But CEO David Labistour said MEC will be looking more carefully at potential risks involved with larger holding companies it deals with.

“We’ve always believed in having all the details and all the information before making a decision,” Labistour said in an interview late Monday.

“These decisions are going to offend someone somewhere because what we know through our social media feed is that not everyone is of the same opinion, so we have to weigh this very carefully and make sure that we make a decision that’s consistent with our membership and the values of the organizations.”

His comments came after MEC said earlier Monday that its senior management would be meeting to discuss calls for it to stop selling Vista Outdoor Inc.-owned brands, including Camelbak and Bolle. Utah-based Vista also designs, develops and manufactures ammunition, long guns and related equipment, its website says.

Vista owns Savage Arms, which sells multiple semi-automatic rifles. Those are similar to the type of rifle a shooter used earlier this month to kill 17 people at a school in Parkland, Fla.

Related: MEC faces calls to drop outdoor brands owned by U.S. gun manufacturer

While MEC doesn’t sell firearms, it does stock the helmets, sunglasses and other outdoor goods Vista makes.

Labistour said going forward, the company will be looking more carefully at its supply chain.

“What we’ve done in the past is that we’ve been very focused on product sustainability and ethical sourcing, which we’re very proud of, but at the same time we’ve never really looked upstream to parent companies and holding companies and the risk involved there,” he said.

Tim Southam, public affairs manager at MEC, said ownership patterns in the outdoor industry are changing as more large players have come into the space and bought up what were formerly independent brands.

“Camelbak, for example, our relationship goes back to 2009 before Vista Outdoors even existed as a company,” Southam added. “These are relationships with individual brands that in some cases go back many years.

“Our sourcing practices have been squarely focused on MEC’s label and environmental consideration and kind of the larger political economy questions have not come into play. And what this situation underscores is that we need to dig into them more to have a better understanding.”

A Change.org petition calls on the retailer to stop carrying the Vista brands.

“Given the recent massacre of high school students in Parkland, Fla., MEC is facing an urgent ethical obligation: to act in accordance with its ‘mission and values,’” reads the petition, which had been signed by about 900 people as of late Monday afternoon.

Some people aired their concerns on the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages, asking it to stop selling Vista-owned brands.

Vista did not immediately responded to a request for comment but MEC encouraged consumers to keep sharing their views via social media.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

City council won’t accept more than a two-per cent tax increase

Financial plan amendment bylaw fails on first reading in 5-4 vote

Nanaimo buses first to get new technology

NextRide technology will help riders pinpoint where buses are and predicted arrival times

UPDATE: Police rule out alcohol, distraction in fatal crash in Nanoose

Passenger of fatal crash still in critical condition following crash in Nanoose Bay on Friday

Nanaimo plays hockey in support of Humboldt

Humboldt Strong Street Hockey Tournament held Sunday, April 22 at Nanaimo North Town Centre

Police look for hit-and-run suspect after senior struck

Incident occurred April 17 at about 3 p.m. at Selby and Fitzwilliam streets

Nanaimo plays hockey in support of Humboldt

Humboldt Strong Street Hockey Tournament held Sunday, April 22 at Nanaimo North Town Centre

Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls van attack ‘horrific and senseless,’ says no apparent terror link

Officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ after Toronto van attack

Arresting officer’s actions ‘one shining moment’ in the wake of Toronto van attack

Parksville resident interrupts break-and-enter

Two break-ins reported in the same day on the same street

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

LGBTQ advocates turn Victoria SOGI protest into dance party

Counter-protest outnumbers anti-SOGI activists on lawn of B.C. legislature

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Most Read