MEC to close its doors across the country as climate strikes hit Canada
UBC business ethics expert says companies 'have to be part of the solution'
Vancouver-based Mountain Equipment Co-op is joining other major companies in closing its stores to support the Global Climate Strike.
MEC stores across Canada will be closed Sept. 27 until 5 p.m. to allow staff to join demonstrations in their communities.
In a letter posted online, MEC CEO Phil Arrata said he and his company are "deeply concerned" about climate change.
"We have known for a long time that operating our business and selling products has an impact on the planet," Arrata wrote.
"While our record of leadership in sustainability and advocacy makes us frontrunners in the outdoor industry, we recognize the need to take an even greater stand."
MEC is just one of several large companies closing up shop as a wave of strikes are held around the world to demand urgent action from global leaders on climate change. The demonstrations were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and kicked off on Friday.
Lush Cosmetics, Ben and Jerry's ice cream and Patagonia were all closed Friday for strikes in the U.S. Canada's day of action is set for a week later.
Christie Stephenson, executive director of UBC's Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, said it's exciting to see companies take this action.
"They're clearly realizing the responsibilities. They have to be part of the solution," Stephenson told CBC.
She said taking this stance could also benefit the companies financially, making them more attractive to investors and consumers who are concerned about the environment.
But Stephenson points out that these actions are all voluntary, and she'd also like to see stricter regulations on corporate climate emissions.
"We do need to see government requirements as well, to move us to the low carbon economy we need," she said.
With files from Joel Ballard