Verdict: Environmentally Friendly, Ethical, (some items are) Fair Trade, High Quality, Transparent Supply Chain, Recycled Materials, Natural Materials
Patagonia sells sporting wear. They are very open about their supply chains, and make many efforts to continuously improve their products and encourage consumers to think before they buy.
Transparency: Very transparent. As with all large companies, they seem to sometimes miss things, but as soon as they are pointed out, the company takes full responsibility and then takes action. They are incredibly detailed with their open discussion of their supply chain, and of where and how things are made.
What They Are Doing Great:
- They are leaders in supply chain transparency – offering details as well as a frank discussion about what they still need to work on.
- They use recycled and reclaimed materials in many of their items (for instance the sweater at the top of this page is made from reclaimed wool)
- They encourage people to repair and mend their clothing items, and also have a section of the company devoted to clothing repair, as well as tutorials on their website.
- Some of their items are fair trade, and they are working to increase the number of fair trade garments they carry.
- They carry some garments made from eco-friendly materials such as hemp.
- They donate 1% of profits to environmental organizations fighting climate change.
- High quality items will last a long time, and can be sent back to Patagonia for repair or recycling.
Room for Improvement:
- They still use synthetic materials (Nylon and Polyester from fossil fuels) to make the shells of their jackets. They have open discussion about this on their website, with the point made that the shells of their jackets must perform optimally in severe weather, and that in some cases this is a life-saving feature, and that they have found no natural material that can adequately replace it.
- They are still working on finding more ways to use reclaimed and recycled materials.
- Not every worker in the Patagonia Company supply chain is making a living wage (although they are all making minimum wage in the country they are employed in, that is often not enough). More on this in their FAQ.
Unanswered Questions: None. We recommend reading through the ‘Inside Patagonia’ portion of their website. It is a wealth of information covering far more than has been detailed here.