Oh Patagonia, what a dream company they are. As a nature lover looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint in the planet, I have come to love and appreciate Patagonia’s efforts to protect the environment as much as possible.
Within the past several years, I’ve started being more aware of the clothes I wear. Not so much for their looks, but for the way they are manufactured and how it’s impacting the lives of people and the environment. Although I like Patagonia's clothing style and long lasting materials, I what I really love is their honesty with consumers. They are setting an example to many of today’s clothing companies to combine fashion with sustainability.
Let me begin by sharing their mission statement: “[To] build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” This statement makes their values clear and more purposeful by including a broader spectrum of their care for its customers and the environment. From their website it’s clear the company cares about the positive impact their products make. They share the experiences of the customers by including the stories of fun adventures in nature while wearing Patagonia swag. As one of their customers, I find it really cool that their business not only makes clothes, but also encourages being outside with mother nature.
Looking more into the company’s focus of designing clothing that is useful and simple, I find it heart warming that Patagonia makes their clothing purposeful and simple for my kind of style.
At this point you may ask “what’s so environmentally friendly that made you write an article about their practices?” Well… let me tell ya! Because the people that work for Patagonia love and care for the environment, they challenge themselves to make a more positive impact. Recently I learned that from their total sales, they donate 1% to environmental groups around the world to support conserving the earth. Although 1% may not seem like much, it’s better than zero and this also is not the only thing they do for the environment.
Whether it’s the energy used for their stores, or the process behind dyeing clothes, they are aware of their practices as they strive to reduce their impact in other ways. Renewable energy is used in many of their stores so that they don’t burn so many fossil fuels. They also use recycled polyester instead of creating more of it, and along similar lines, they have switched to using organic cotton rather than conventional. This explains why Patagonia’s prices are not cheap.
Along with their friendly environmental practices, I appreciate their honesty with the reality of their actions. In their website, they share the good and not so good impacts producing the products make. With one of their heavy duty jackets they make, they have openly shared the big contribution it is making towards global climate change. With that in mind, they say “we must know our impact, constantly question our practices and keep pushing hard for better ways to do business.”
While Patagonia cares for the customers and the environment, they also care deeply about their workers. The company holds a fair trade certification that ensures they benefit their workers just like their workers benefit them. Along with the Fair Trade, on Patagonia’s website there’s a map of the textile mills, factories and farms they use all around the world. In each place on the map, there’s information about how the employers are treated. In one of their factories in Mexico where they make base layers and fleece, Patagonia ensures benefits for the workers like childcare, health screenings and (financial aid?) continuing education. It makes me fell good to know that the people, which worked on my clothes are being treated well. Good job Patagonia!
A couple more awesome things they’re currently working on is raising the standard of minimum wage to a “living wage” and providing their worn wear repair shop truck to fix Patagonia clothes as they drive around the United States. At the moment, Patagonia believes the minimum wage of their workers varies where they work, so they are striving to figure out how to pay a “living wage” in order for the workers to have a decent life. On another side of the spectrum, Patagonia plays a big role in encouraging their customers to wear their clothes for as long as possible to reduce consumerism and to save money on new clothes. If the clothes start to wear out, the Worn Wear program provides free repairs to keep providing the quality of each garment. Also online, Patagonia also has a repair and care guide that gives helpful tips on how to care for their clothing.
Although Patagonia is not perfect within their practices, they stand for a great cause and they are constantly striving to improve their practices each year. Patagonia works hard to accomplish their sustainable goals in hopes of improving other traditional business practices. [Drop mic]
I have to admit I don’t work for Patagonia (although I would love to) and I don’t buy all of my clothes from them, I just love that their practices as a business deeply cares about the customers, employees and the environment.