Patagonia is an outdoor apparel and gear company known for its sustainable supply chains and advocacy for the environment. They aim to use their resources such as their voice, business and community, to do something about our climate crisis.
Patagonia has long focused on making their supply chain ethical. To them, this means ensuring no forced labour, child labour and other human rights abuses. Moreover, they developed and implemented a Workplace Code of Conduct and factory monitoring programs in their finished goods factories to combat human trafficking and forced labour. Patagonia believes in ethical production and is thus a founding and fully accredited member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA). They also audit all of their cutting, sewing and finishing factories, and their subcontractors under their detailed benchmark. Their suppliers, factories and farms are around the world, including Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Sri Lanka, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and the USA*.
They create high-quality and long-lasting products. Almost 70 per cent of Patagonia’s products use recycled materials like plastic bottles, polyester, nylon and wool. Their goal is to use 100 per cent renewable or recycled materials by 2025. The company also uses hemp and 100% organically grown cotton, certified by GOTS. They are bluesign® certified for 56% of their fabrics. 100 per cent of their virgin down is certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard.
Patagonia still uses virgin plastic polybags for their packaging. This is because they don’t want to damage their products getting damaged during shipment. However, they also use recyclable plastic mailers made of 40% post-consumer waste (PCW) content. These were recently down-gauged from 3.5 to 2.5 millimetres to reduce plastic use by 30%. In short, they’re working on how they can reduce plastic consumption, but can’t completely remove it.
Patagonia believes that sustainability makes economic sense. They use eco-friendly and recycled materials and donate to organisations who are working to solve the climate crisis. Since 1986, they’ve contributed at least 1 per cent of annual sales to environmental preservation and restoration. In 2017, Patagonia gave $10 million from their federal tax cut to grassroots environmental groups and those involved in regenerative organic agriculture. They also invest in renewable energy for their facilities and actively reduce their water and waste footprint. They want to be carbon neutral by 2025.
The company recently updated its mission statement to reflect the urgency of the environmental crisis: “We’re in business to save our home planet”. Its drive to preserve the planet’s ecosystems runs through the entire business. From the products made and the materials used to the donation of money to environmental causes. Above all, they are committed to simplicity, utility and durability for their products. Patagonia has also suggested limiting consumption through controversial advertisements telling consumers to buy less or not to buy if they don’t need it. Thus, they are very transparent with the processes they undertake, suppliers, materials and certifications.