MEC, Lush Cosmetics to close stores across Canada on Friday for climate strike

The outside of a Mountain Equipment Co-Op is seen in North Vancouver on Mon. Dec. 9, 2017. The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward

Two major B.C.-based retailers are shutting their doors on Friday in support of climate strikes scheduled across Canada.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) says it will close all of its stores on Sept. 27 until 5 p.m. local time “to support staff who choose to lend their voice to the movement.”

Lush Cosmetics says it will also shut down its entire operation for the day, including shops, head office, website and manufacturing in Toronto and Vancouver.

Millions of people across the globe took to the streets last Friday for a global climate strike event meant to pressure world leaders to take more urgent action on climate change.

Those demonstrations were more subdued in much of Canada, with many Canadian cities holding climate strikes next week to coincide with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s arrival in Montreal.

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In a letter to co-op members, MEC CEO Phil Arrata said he felt it was important for the company to participate.

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“We have known for a long time that operating our business and selling products has an impact on the planet,” wrote Arrata.

“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.

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“The current rate of emissions causing climate change, if continued, puts the earth on a path to seeing 3–4 degrees of warming by mid-century. This will cause significant impacts to where we live, work and play.”

Mark Wolverton, CEO of Lush Cosmetics North America said his company has always had deep roots in environmental activism.

“Giving our thousands of staff the time to get out there and demand bold action is a no-brainer,” he said.

“We all share this planet, so we need to band together to sound the alarm and show our politicians that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option.”

Arrata said along with closing retail locations, the company would also allow warehouse and head office staff to participate.

According to several activist groups, at least 860 cities around the world have demonstrations planned for Sept. 27.

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