MEC examines the impacts of climate change from a business perspective. Using climate change information and data released by the Government of Canada, MEC has learned that probable impacts are warmer temperatures, more frequent heat events, less frequent cold events, more frequent and intense hot days/nights, less frequent and less intense cold days/nights, more frequent downpours, fewer days with snow cover, and more wildfires. These impacts, as well as seasonal variations, may affect how consumers buy products. Climate change will also result in more extreme weather, which could impact retail stock and source materials. For example, as stock moves from MEC’s Canadian distribution centre to its stores, it is vulnerable to road closures as a result of flooding, landslides and snowstorms. Stock at the distribution centre or on store floors is vulnerable to flooding. Extreme weather also affects resource availability and even commodity prices.
To prepare for climate change impacts on their sales and supply change, Mountain Equipment Co-operative (MEC) embeds adaptation at an organizational level, in the risk matrix and in its operational and investment decisions. MEC, or Mountain Equipment Co-operative, dates back more than four decades. While the company’s product line has evolved over that time (from climbing and mountaineering supplies to a complete range of outdoor gear and equipment), MEC has always been a member-owned co-operative. A changing climate influences MEC in two main ways: through sales and through supply chain. The unpredictability in weather patterns has implications for what customers want to buy (sales), while extreme events can impact the supply chain through by disrupting transits, destroying stock in place, and by impacting resources require for product creation. MEC embeds climate change adaptation at an organizational level rather than pursuing a separate climate change adaptation initiative. Adaptation is part of the business’s risk matrix and its operational and investment decisions. Tracking weather enables the company to understand how shifts (like shorter seasons) may impact inventory demands, and it also considers climate risks related to infrastructure and material sourcing. Currently, accountants at MEC contribute to adaptation decisions through participation in planning, resource allocation and rigorous analyses. In the future, MEC aims to have their accountants trained in climate change adaptation and sustainability, and to enable “soft” skills, such as communications, in order to facilitate better collaboration with colleagues throughout the organization. Climate change requires a universal response. While government policy and international agreements can create momentum, MEC believes it must advocate for action and prepare for organizational impacts: e.g. by building robust systems and collecting transparent and rigorous data.