Patagonia (clothing)

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Patagonia, Inc.
Type Private benefit corporation
Industry Retail
Founded 1973
Headquarters Ventura, California, U.S.
Key people Yvon Chouinard
Products Outdoor apparel
Revenue Increase 500 Million (2012)
Employees Increase 1289 (2007)
Website patagonia.com

Coordinates: 34°16′47″N 119°18′14″W / 34.2798°N 119.3040°W / 34.2798; -119.3040

Patagonia, Inc. is a Ventura, California-based clothing company, focusing mainly on high-end outdoor clothing. The company is a member of several environmental movements and is a certified B-Corporation,[1] meaning the company is beholden to public-benefit concerns (in this case environmental) alongside its profit motive. It was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973.

The logo is the skyline of Cerro Fitzroy looking west in Patagonia.

Sport-Specific[edit]

The company's roots are in clothing for rock and alpine climbing, but they now offer a diverse mix of apparel targeted towards skiers, surfers, climbers, and others. Patagonia employs a flex-time policy, allowing employees to take time off to go surfing.[2] One of its main product lines is the Capilene base layer clothing. Patagonia recently started making surf-specific products, and currently has three different lines of wetsuits and many different models of swim trunks.

Though Patagonia is considered to be a sport-specific apparel manufacturer, some of the company's most popular products are general apparel. Patagonia fleeces, rain jackets, and coats are some of the most widely-worn products in the outdoor apparel industry. Patagonia received two National Geographic Adventure Blog "Gear of the Year" awards in 2010[3] and holds "Editor's Choice" and "Top Pick" awards from OutdoorGearLab,.[4]

Environmental activism[edit]

Patagonia is a major contributor to environmental groups. Patagonia commits 1% of their total sales or 10% of their profit, whichever is more, to environmental groups. Since 1985, when the program was first started, Patagonia has donated $46 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.[5][better source needed]

Patagonia co-founded 1% For the Planet, an alliance of businesses which, like Patagonia, commit at least 1% of their total sales to the environment.[citation needed]

Patagonia often features their environmental campaigns in their catalogs and advertisements. Many of their recent campaigns include work with preventing oil drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge, "Ocean As A Wilderness", and "Don't Dam Patagonia".

In early 2008, Patagonia won the 'Eco Brand of the Year' award at the Volvo Ecodesign Forum during the ISPO Trade Show in Munich.[6]

Patagonia also demonstrates their environmental consciousness in the design and construction of their facilities. An example is their Reno Nevada Service Center which employs green design and technologies to initially achieve a LEED Silver[7] and then later Gold certification.[5][8]

Patagonia Initiatives[edit]

Patagonia focuses on helping the environment.[9] Patagonia donates 1% of sales to environmental groups every year, and has encouraged other companies to do the same through its 1% For the Planet alliance.[5] In addition to large global initiatives, Patagonia also supports several smaller initiatives such as the World Trout Initiative,[10] Environmental Internships,[11] the Conservation Alliance,[12] and the Organic Exchange.[13][better source needed] Recently, Patagonia launched a worldwide recycling initiative called the Common Threads Recycling Program and has a site devoted to the explanation of their recycling process called The Footprint Chronicles.[5]

1% for the Planet[edit]

1% for the Planet was established in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews to bring together companies that wanted to help the environment and to encourage other companies to do the same.[citation needed] Members range from small to large companies from all over the world. Spawned from Patagonia’s original policy of contributing 1% of all sales to environmental organizations since 1985, the 1,486 members of 1% for the Planet each contribute 1% of their total sales to over 2,000 different environmental organizations every year.[5]

World Trout Initiative[edit]

Developed by Yvon Chouinard and James Prosek in 2005, the World Trout Initiative works to protect the endangered fish of the world through grants to organizations that protect threatened fish.[10] The mission of the World Trout Initiative is to “identify the individuals and groups that protect native fish, to tell their story and to support their conservation efforts by placing money into the hands of the actual groups protecting the fish.”[14] In the past year alone the World Trout Initiative has granted $75,000 for Fish and Habitat Enhancement, according to FlyFishMagazine.[15]

Environmental Internships[edit]

Patagonia started their Environmental Internships program in 1993. A Patagonia employee can take a leave of absence with full pay and benefits to volunteer within an environmental non-profit of their choice for up to two months.[11] Employees can work anywhere in the country on any project they want, and over 700 employees have taken advantage of this opportunity to date.[11] Patagonia does not worry about losing workers for a couple months because, according to Lu Setnicka, director of training for Patagonia, "[Patagonia] still consider[s] that they are working for Patagonia, but they are having the opportunity to bring a particular skill set to an organization that could really benefit from it, in some ways more than it would from a grant check. It also gives the employees the opportunity to dive deeper into an issue, partnering with a group that they are interested in."[16] Patagonia also states that, over the years, some employees have left the company to permanently work for the nonprofit that they interned for.[16]

Common Threads Recycling Program[edit]

The Common Threads Initiative is a partnership between the Company and customers to take mutual responsibility for the cradle to grave life of the products Patagonia makes and people purchase. Originally launched in 2005, the first goal of the program was to make every item Patagonia sells recyclable. The first recyclable item was Patagonia’s Baselayers, but the program has since expanded to several other clothing items.[17] The Common Threads Recycling Program relies on both Patagonia and its customers to accomplish reducing, reusing and repairing, and recycling. The Common Threads Recycling Program allows customers to bring back any Patagonia clothing with the special Common Threads label on it and put it into the store recycling bin. Patagonia then ships the clothing to refurbishment centers around the world where the fabric is processed and turned into a new Patagonia product.[17] This reduces the amount of virgin material used for Patagonia’s products. Patagonia’s original goal was to make all of its clothing recyclable by fall of 2010; however, they will not reach this goal until fall of 2011 according to the Patagonia holiday catalog which features an article about the initiative.[17]

The Footprint Chronicles[edit]

This interactive website lets a customer follow a specific piece of clothing through its entire journey from production to recycle. The website is meant to give customers a glimpse into what Patagonia is doing, and leaves an open forum for customers to comment and try to make the process even better.[18] The point of the website is to show customers the good and the bad side of Patagonia, and open up to suggestions for how they can improve the processes that are still hurting the environment. The Footprint Chronicles features videos about Patagonia’s social and environmental responsibility and easy-to-use contact information for customers to use.[18][19]

Patagonia Supports[edit]

The Organic Exchange[edit]

The Organic Exchange is an organization that helps promote education about and use of organic materials in clothing and industry, primarily organic cotton.[20][better source needed] Patagonia has supported this organization since its establishment in 2002, and Patagonia was one of the first companies to switch to entirely organic cotton.[13] Other large retailers, such as Nike, also support the Organic Exchange.[20]

The Conservation Alliance[edit]

Founded in 1989 by Patagonia, The North Face, REI and Kelty, the Conservation Alliance encourages outdoor sporting goods stores to contribute monetarily to environmental causes.[21] With over 170 members, 100% of the proceeds go directly to environmental organizations. In 2010 alone, the Conservation Alliance donated $900,000 to these causes.[5]

Controversy[edit]

Since 2012 the animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS (Germany) has been criticizing Patagonia for using live-plucked down feathers and downs of force-fed geese.[22] In a statement on their website, Patagonia denied use of live-plucking but admitted to using down procured from the foie-gras industry. They are currently working to resolve this issue.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Patagonia, Inc. | B Corp". Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Patagonia stakes a wider claim on the beach". Men's Vogue. Retrieved March 27, 2008. [dead link]
  3. ^ Patrick (2010-10-06). "Wilderness Couture: North Face, Patagonia Win 'Gear of the Year' Awards". Wildernesscouture.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  4. ^ "Patagonia Super Pluma Review". OutdoorGearLab. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "1% for the Planet". Patagonia.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  6. ^ Sam (2008-02-04). "Eco brand of the Year". High Sports. Retrieved April 7, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Blog Archive » LEED Certification for Patagonia’s Reno Service Center". SupplyChainNetwork.com. 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  8. ^ "Patagonia Goes For Gold At Reno Distribution Center · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader". Environmentalleader.com. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  9. ^ "Patagonia's History - A Company Created by Climber Yvon Chouinard and his commitment to the Environment (catalog paper, organic and recycled fabrics )". Patagonia.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  10. ^ a b "World Trout Initiative". Patagonia. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Environmental Internships". Patagonia. 29 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Conservation Alliance". Patagonia. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Organic Exchange". Patagonia. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "World Trout Initiative". Patagonia. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Patagonia's World Trout Initiative Grants". FlyFishMagazine. Flyfishmagazine. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Palmer, Alex, and Leo Jakobson. "Do The Right Thing". Business Source Complete. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c "Patagonia's Common Threads Partnership to Reduce Our Environmental Footprint". Patagonia.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  18. ^ a b "The Footprint Chronicles: Our Supply Chain". Patagonia.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  19. ^ Truini, Joe (28 April 2008). "Clothier Exposes Impact". Business Source Complete. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  20. ^ a b "Organic Exchange – A Resource for Organic Cotton and Sustainable Textiles". Organic Exchange: Growing the Global Organic Cotton Market. Retrieved 12 November 2010. [dead link]
  21. ^ "The Conservation Alliance". Patagonia. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  22. ^ "Outdoor Company Patagonia: Down from brutal force-feeding". Four Paws. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  23. ^ "The Lowdown on Down: An Update". The Cleanest Line. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 

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