Patagonia – an ethical clothing retailer who puts the environment at the forefront

“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” This is the mission statement of a company called Patagonia who are working hard to stop the steep decline of our beautiful environment.


From early beginnings of making tools for climbers, Patagonia has merged into a company that promotes simplicity and utility.


Thirty plus years later sees Patagonia donating their time, services and at least 1% of their sales to grassroots environmental groups across the globe who share Patagonia’s mission of helping the environment.


Patagonia is well aware of the effect the production of clothing can have on the environment so they make it their mission to reduce the harm to the environment. Many of their clothes use recycled polyester and they only use organic cotton.


Below are details of some of the other initiatives that Patagonia are involved in to help make a dent in the environmental decline.  


Fair Trade Certified


Patagonia’s products are Fair Trade Certified with the clothing being made by workers in Pratibha Syntex in India, Patagonia’s first Fair Trade partner factory, as well as four new additions in Sri Lanka and one in Los Angeles, California.


Patagonia pays a premium for every Fair Trade Certified item that they buy. The money goes into a fund controlled by the workers and is used for social, economic and environmental developmental products. Workers can also take a cash bonus to help them move towards a living wage.


Last year, workers at the Pratibha factory earned an additional $76,000 (approximately AU$107,000) from Patagonia alone. This may not seem a lot to many people, but for workers that earn incredibly low wages for horribly long hours, this can mean the world to them. The $76,000 is equivalent to nine days wages for each worker.


Reuse Recycle


Patagonia is all about extending the life of stuff that we own rather than going out and buying the latest item. Patagonia’s $20 million & Change Investment fund helps support initiatives that revolve around the goal of extending the life of items rather than them being added to a landfill.


Patagonia works with a company called Yerdle who are on a mission to reduce the amount of new things we buy by 25%. Using Yerdle you can give away items you no longer need and in return earn Yerdle Dollars to buy items that you do need.  


If any of your Patagonia clothing is well beyond any further repair, you can send it back to the company and it will be recycled into a new item or they will repurpose what can’t be recycled.


Don’t buy new stuff, repair your old stuff


It is no secret that the majority of consumers in the world have a huge shopping problem and it is brought to light in particular during the various sales including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas sales, winter sales, summer sales, the list goes on. During these times especially people seem to go crazy, buying a whole bunch of unnecessary stuff that they don’t actually need and in a few weeks probably don’t even want anymore.


We also live in a world where the thought of buying something new is so much easier than mending that whole in a t-shirt or repairing an old washing machine.


Patagonia say “Repair is a Radical Act” and they provide various guides to help you repair your Patagonia clothing as well as other items of clothing. If you don’t feel up to doing your own repairs you can always send it off to Patagonia who have the largest repair facility in North America and complete 40,000 repairs each year. They do the work to ensure you don’t have to buy a new one.  


The image above was used on Patagonia’s Cyber Monday mail, it clearly shows an ethical company that stands for the environment rather than profits.


Image via: Patagonia
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