Patagonia goes against the usual business norms: A case study

Patagonia is widely known as an outdoor and adventure-wear brand that leads the way on taking care of our earth. With a mission statement to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”, Patagonia has set a high bar.

Since 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1 per cent of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. They have given away $90 million in cash to grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.

In 2005, Patagonia launched the Common Threads Recycling Program. The goal was to reduce the number of products Patagonia customers purchased through a two-fold effort. This was done to encourage customers to fix damaged clothing. Patagonia began publishing do-it-yourself repair guides to assist customers in repairing their clothing.

“Don’t buy this jacket”. Patagonia launched another campaign in 2011 to dissuade customers from purchasing clothing that they did not really need. Patagonia recognizes that buying less is one of the major steps shoppers can take to reduce their own eco-footprint, saying “It would be hypocritical for us to work for environmental change without encouraging customers to think before they buy.”

This season, 64 per cent of Patagonia’s materials are made from recycled fibres. Switching to recycled allowed them to avoid 3,000 metric tons of CO2, enough to power 350 homes for one year.

Since 1996, all the virgin cotton in their line has been grown organically, without the use of harmful chemicals. By using organic cotton, the company saves water and reduce CO2 emissions by 45 per cent compared to conventional cotton.

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