Patagonia are in business to help save our home planet

When it comes to sustainability and doing their bit for our natural environment, Patagonia have set a bold mission - to be in business to save the planet.

 

Changing the way business is done, environmental protection is not just a hobby but something they actively pursue. You won’t find Patagonia making half-hearted sustainability gestures. Instead, they search for the root of poor practices to find a better way forward for people and our planet.

 

They strive to put sustainability at the fore of every business decision to ensure that they don’t just minimise their impact, but also generate positive changes in communities across the entire world. Their efforts for the good of the planet are clear in everything they do, from their commitment to using 100% traceable down and 100% organic virgin cotton to increasing their use of recycled materials and aiming to become carbon neutral by 2025.

 

Patagonia want to act now to save our planet, so we can all continue enjoying natural outdoor pursuits, which foster a rewarding connection with the outdoors.

1% for the Planet

Patagonia first pledged 1% of its sales to the preservation and restoration of natural environments in 1985. Since then, they’ve donated more than $145 million to domestic and international environmental groups making a difference in their communities. 

 

Keen to take things further, Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, joined forces with Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, to create 1% for the Planet, a non-profit corporation encouraging other businesses to give back too. 

 

1% for the Planet members have a shared desire to protect the natural environment. They understand the link between profit and loss and our planet and its health. As a result, they're committed to improving the social and environmental impacts of their industry. 

 

Each business involved in 1% for the Planet plays an important role in helping support grassroots organisations committed to making positive environmental changes in their local area.

Fair Trade

Patagonia believes looking after the planet means looking after its people too. 

 

Garment workers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the world and often work in poor conditions. Patagonia doesn’t have its own factories, which means they have limited control over the wages, so they are committed to Fair Trade.

 

Patagonia pays a surcharge for every Fair Trade Certified product that carries their label, and this money directly helps improve the lives of workers in the factories producing their clothes. Rather than the money being filtered top-down, each factory participating in the program elects a democratic Fair Trade committee of workers who then decide how to use the funds. Projects range from health care programs and child-care centres to cash bonuses. 

 

Fair Trade also promotes health and safety, and social and environmental compliance by encouraging dialogue between workers and management.

Organic Cotton

Cotton may seem like a natural and environmentally-friendly fibre, but  in the 1990s, Patagonia found that this is only true for the plant itself. In California alone, conventionally produced cotton was treated with over 3000 tons of chemicals every year. This extensive and intensive use of fertilisers, additives, defoliants and other chemicals has a devastating effect on our environment, affecting soil health, water purity and natural habitats.

 

To reduce this negative impact and promote biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, in 1996, Patagonia switched to solely using organic cotton. They carry out strict checks throughout the supply chain to ensure that the cotton they use is grown to their exacting standards. They require independently issued certificates from farmers, companies that process the raw product and the freight carriers transporting the cotton.

Worn Wear

Patagonia knows the best thing we can do for the planet is reduce consumption by making the most of what we already own. Their research has shown that keeping clothing in use for nine extra months can reduce related carbon, waste and water footprints by 20-30 per cent, according to the UK-based group WRAP – and that’s simply because less is being made and thrown away. 

 

To help you extend the life of your garments, in 2013, Patagonia created Worn Wear which aims to keep clothing, regardless of what brand it is, in circulation for as long as possible through correct washing and the best repairs. 

 

And when you do need to buy a new garment, Patagonia makes the best quality, most functional products and guarantees them for life.

Patagonia Action Works

Keen to make their sustainability values accessible to all, and at a time of unprecedented environmental threat, Patagonia have created Action Works, a digital platform that connects its community with grassroots organisations working to save the planet.

 

The platform enables people to support environmental issues, volunteer their time and skills, join events, sign petitions and donate to conservation causes.

 

Their online community-based platform is the next chapter in Patagonia’s 45-year history of activism and giving programme. Many not-for-profits operate with limited resources, and through Patagonia Action Works, these groups can become more effective and powerful in tackling the most pressing environmental challenges.

We the Power

Patagonia’s We The Power campaign encourages citizens to imagine a local, community-owned, renewable energy system that brings both social and economic benefits to local communities. Community energy systems enable people to move away from big extractive energy monopolies that exacerbate the climate crisis and puts money back into communities creating local jobs.

 

It aims to inspire people to switch their electricity provider to one that sources energy from a community-owned renewable energy scheme, join or invest in a community energy group, or start their own.

 

We The Power also involves helping grassroots networks already taking shape while also driving legislative change to ensure communities benefit financially from producing renewable energy.

Netplus

Patagonia have teamed up with Bureo to give a new life to discarded fishing nets. 

 

Since the introduction of plastic fishing nets, they have become one of the biggest and most harmful forms of plastic pollution in our oceans. To reduce the presence of this pollutant in our oceans, Patagonia and Bureo have developed NetPlus, a traceable 100% recycled plastic material that Patagonia is now using for the brim stiffeners in their hats.

 

The plastic is made directly from damaged fishing nets collected in fishing communities in Southern America. The scheme not only helps clean up our oceans but also benefits poor fishing communities by paying them for something they would have otherwise discarded.

So far, the concept has repurposed 71,000 pounds of fishing waste from the ocean while also giving local fishermen in poor communities an additional source of income. 

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