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Speaking Of Corporate Transparency: MEC Releases List Of Factories

Two days ago,  I heard Shel Holtz discuss corporate transparency.   I also got involved in a debate that said that as long as a company operated with complete transparency, it could maintain a positive reputation regardless of their actions.

Here’s a good example that might suggest it’s true.

Mountain Equipment Co-op has released a complete list of every factory it uses to produce its wildly popular, eco-chic products.  

MEC says they’re the first Canadian company to disclose the location of its factories, and it’s  a brave move:  a substantial chunk of them are in China.

There’s also a section of their website devoted to answering questions about the factories.  They admit they would like to source more of their products from Canada, and say they choose factories based on individual track records, not the countries in which they’re based.  They also concede that in the past, they have found infractions in the factories they use, and list what they’re doing to improve labour conditions worldwide.

“Factory disclosure is all about transparency”, MEC CEO David Labistour is quoted in a release.

There’s that magic word again.  The question now is whether MEC’s 2.9 million “member-owners” will approve or be turned off.   

A quick Technorati search didn’t pull up any furious blog posts,  and I didn’t find any “Boycott MEC” groups on Facebook.   MEC’s fan base seems to be unfazed by the news.

The full disclosure is only going to be beneficial to MEC’s image.   It’s already known as a leader in environmental causes.  The list of factories and the website Q and A’s show they are part of the solution to worldwide labour issues, not part of the problem.    

The transparency fits their existing reputation.

Other companies, though, might not be as fortunate if they follow the same path.