The Footprint Chronicles® examines Patagonia’s life and habits as a company. The goal is to use transparency about our supply chain to help us reduce our adverse social and environmental impacts – and on an industrial scale. We’ve been in business long enough to know that when we can reduce or eliminate a harm, other businesses will be eager to follow suit.
Here’s what we’re doing to make sure Patagonia products are produced under safe, fair, legal and humane working conditions throughout the supply chain – and some background on how we got to where we are today.
20 years of organic cotton
In 1994, we made the decision to take a stand against chemically intensive cotton and switch to organically grown cotton throughout our line. In hindsight, it was an audacious goal as the quantity of cotton in our line was quite small in the giant world of cotton production.
Our Impact on the Planet
The shells we make are contributing to climate change. Despite our best efforts to minimize this contribution, we are still part of the problem. Learn about the good and bad environmental aspects of making shells.
Hirdaramani, Agalawatta, Sri Lanka
Employees at Hirdaramani-CKT Apparel in Sri Lanka voted to use their Fair Trade premium to open a free day-care center and implement a health and hygiene program.
What is a living wage vs. a minimum wage?
Patagonia keeps close tabs on wages paid in all of our partner factories so we can ensure the workers who make our clothes are earning at least a minimum wage in the locales where they work. But in most instances we do not know whether those wages are enough to afford a decent standard of living.
Nature USA, Rancho Dominguez, CA
Workers who make T-shirts for us at Nature USA in Los Angeles voted to take their Fair Trade premiums as a cash bonus equivalent to 1-2 weeks’ pay.
MAS Active–Leisureline, Katunayake, Sri Lanka
Workers at MAS Active–Leisureline in Sri Lanka chose to use their Fair Trade premium to buy essential items, including food, medicine and toiletries.
Our Business and Climate Change
Patagonia’s mission statement reads: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Climate change, a devastating symptom of human activity on Earth, is the very definition of this crisis we must overcome if we hope to survive.
FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED™
In an attempt to improve the lives of those who make our products, we offer 33 styles that are Fair Trade Certified for sewing.
Traceable Down Insulation
All of our down products, as of our fall 2014 product season, contain Traceable Down, all of which can be traced back to birds that were never force-fed and never live-plucked.
In 1996, with an increased awareness of the dangers of pesticide use and synthetic fertilizers in growing conventional cotton, we began the exclusive use of organically grown cotton in all of our cotton products.
Impact and Adoption
As our company grows, we are faced with this challenge: the more we produce, the greater our impact is on the environment. If we are going to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis, as our mission states, we have to reduce our overall impact, regardless of the number of products we sell.
Merino Wool Sourcing
Re-building our wool program—with a partner that can ensure a strong and consistent approach to animal welfare, while also fostering healthy grasslands—will be a significant challenge.