Our Footprint Stories

Keri Oberly
Green Biz

If you’re interested in businesses-gone-green, take a look at "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet" by Cornelia Dean. (Note: This is a NY Times article and will only be viewable by non-subscribers for approximately one week.) It’s great to hear more success stories of reformed businessmen and their environmental experiments. Let’s hope interest among…

1 min Read
Announcing The Footprint Chronicles

I love to cook and as I’ve ventured into new cuisines found myself with a whole new spice rack sporting names like fenugreek, nigella and star anise. I also found myself wanting a spice grinder to go with all these wonderful recipes but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. My coffee grinder worked just…

2 min Read
Your Thoughts on The Footprint Chronicles

0ur Footprint Chronicles were intended to ignite conversation every bit as much as corporate introspection. And the comments are starting to roll in. Below, you’ll find some intriguing thoughts from among the very first responses we received to the Footprint Chronicles. In the interest of helping to zero-in our own focus on big issues, we’ve…

3 min Read
Your Thoughts on The Footprint Chronicles – Part 2

0ur Footprint Chronicles were intended to ignite conversation every bit as much as corporate introspection. And the comments are starting to roll in. Below, you’ll find some intriguing thoughts from among the very first responses we received to the Footprint Chronicles. In the interest of helping to zero-in our own focus on big issues, we’ve…

3 min Read
Your Thoughts on The Footprint Chronicles – Part 3

0ur Footprint Chronicles were intended to ignite conversation every bit as much as corporate introspection. And the comments are starting to roll in. Below, you’ll find some intriguing thoughts from among the very first responses we received to the Footprint Chronicles. In the interest of helping to zero-in our own focus on big issues, we’ve…

3 min Read
TreeHugger Interviews with Yvon Chouinard

The all-things green blog TreeHugger recently conducted a two-part phone interview with Patagonia owner/founder Yvon Chouinard. Topics include growing the company, Patgonia 100 years from now, transparency and the Footprint Chronicles, the myth of sustainability, our "Pata-gucci" reputation, politics, and quality vs. quantity. As usual, Y.C. doesn’t pull any punches. Head on over to TreeHugger…

1 min Read
Patagonia Reads with UCSB

After a very successful inaugural launch last year Patagonia got involved again with the University of California Santa Barbara READS program. UCSB students and Patagonia employees were given The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli to learn more about globalization. Patagonia was asked to get even further involved and have…

4 min Read
Up with Down

Because the best down comes from mature geese and because the Eastern Europeans prefer older and larger geese, the best down tends to come from Eastern Europe. The down is harvested and then separated into different grades depending on the quality of down. Hit the jump for more details . . . Down is graded…

4 min Read
Footprint Chronicles Features 5 New Products

Feedback" links available within The Footprint Chronicles. If you’ve yet to see it, The Footprint Chronicles is one example of our commitment to Leading an Examined Life. It’s an interactive mini-site that allows you to track the impact of several Patagonia products from design through delivery.* We launched The Footprint Chronicles with five products from…

2 min Read
Developing Our First Wetsuit—That’s Also Sustainably Made

Recently there has been a lot of talk in the surf world about “green” wetsuits (1, 2, 3, 4). Most of the claims revolve around the use of neoprene made from limestone rather than petroleum. I asked Todd Copeland, who works on Patagonia’s Fabric Development team, to shed some light on these claims. Many of…

Patagonia
4 min Read
Your Thoughts on the Footprint Chronicles – All Just Eco Fluff?

Our Footprint Chronicles have generated a wide range of feedback. We’ve received a whole raft of incisive questions that have sent us scurrying off to do more homework. We’ve received some praise, most recently in the form of the "People’s Voice" award in the 2008 Webbys. And we’ve received some criticism. We’re grateful for all…

4 min Read
Patagonia Products’ Country of Origin Information Available Online

In early July of 2008 we announced the release of our factory list, available from the Leading the Examined Life portion of our site. As the post states, this was a big step for us. The Footprint Chronicles is our opportunity to maintain a higher level of transparency in our corporate practice. They were launched…

2 min Read
Patagonia Receives FLA Accreditation

Patagonia is proud to announce that as of October, 2008, we have become a fully accredited member of the Fair Labor Association.  While Patagonia was a founding member and active participating company in the Fair Labor Association since 1999, it was not until last month that we received the distinction of full accreditation. To achieve…

3 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: All That Rots

A new citizen is emerging. That citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. The Footprint Chronicles were developed to document the changes we’re making as a company to lighten our…

Jim Little
4 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Ode to a Dead Volvo

A new citizen is emerging. That citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. The Footprint Chronicles were developed to document the changes we’re making as a company to lighten our…

Patagonia
4 min Read
Shopping Consciously for the Holidays

Nicole Bassett is Patagonia’s Social Responsibility Manager. As such, she is charged with traveling the world to visit our factories and verify the integrity of their manufacturing process. Thanks to her unique expertise, she gets peppered with questions from people eager to spend their dollars in the most beneficial way possible. In today’s post, Nicole…

Patagonia
3 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: When the Light Went Out

A new citizen is emerging. That citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. The Footprint Chronicles were developed to document the changes we’re making as a company to lighten our…

Jim Little
4 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Mindin’ the Toilet

Series intro: A new citizen is emerging. That citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. The Footprint Chronicles were developed to document the changes we’re making as a company to…

localcrew
5 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Grow with the Flow

Series intro: A new citizen is emerging. That citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. The [Ed note: This installment comes from a local Ventura canoe paddler; someone whose time…

4 min Read
Closing the Loop – A Report on Patagonia’s Common Threads Garment Recycling Program

In Fall 2005, when we launched our new line of recyclable Capilene® Performance Base Layer garments, we also announced a five-year goal to make all Patagonia products recyclable through our new Common Threads Garment Recycling Program. This program invites customers to return used-up clothing and delivers the retired garments to a fiber manufacturer that uses…

Patagonia
12 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Shipping to a Lesser Footprint

A new citizen is emerging. That citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. Although it can sometimes bog decisions down, we recently saw the benefits when Patagonia Sourcing Manager Marjorie…

2 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: A Word on Spreading the Word

Series intro: Today's citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. [Ed note: Everyone concerned with the state of the environment has their coming-of -consciousness story. Psychologist Elizabeth Mosco has worked…

5 min Read
My Footprint Series: Setting an Example with Trims and Samples

Series intro: Today's citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. Two. Hundred. Thousand. Miles. If you’re an astronaut,that translates to a one-way ticket to the moon or about 8 trips…

4 min Read
Earth Day and the New Footprint Chronicles

Happy Earth Day to the Cleanest Line masses. Today we launched a new version of the Footprint Chronicles, the place where we share information on how and where our products are manufactured, what the environmental costs are and how we think the process can be improved. There are a number of new features in today's…

3 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Charting a Course of Questions

Series intro: Today's citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible. The Footprint Chronicles were developed to document the changes we’re making as a company to lighten our environmental impact and…

4 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Shaping a New Relationship to Skiing

Series intro: The “My Footprint” series shares the stories of Patagonia friends and employees who have been inspired by There's a side to skiing in the United States that many American skiers would just as soon not talk about. For all of its inspiring outdoor elements, the industry as we know it is uniquely dependent…

1 min Read
Your Thoughts on the Footprint Chronicles – Why don’t you make more of your goods in the U.S.A.?

We’ve recently released “What’s Done in Our Name?,” the first in a three-part video series called Work in Progress that examines larger social and environmental issues we grapple with as a company. ”What’s Done in Our Name” directly addresses what we do to monitor the labor practices of the overseas factories that make our goods.…

6 min Read
A Lime with That, Sir? Transitioning to Waterless Urinals in the Workplace

We got a waterless urinal a couple of months ago here on the second floor of the Crystal Palace at Patagonia HQ. It’s saving a lot of water, but smells a bit unsavory. One guy likened the odor to that of restrooms in bus terminals. Another said it was a Third-World experience without the cultural…

Jim Little
5 min Read
Fishing Waders Trigger Deep Thoughts About Gear Manufacturing

Our friends over at Recycled Waders have been hard at work finding new uses for some of Patagonia's most hard-to-recycle items. Fishing waders are complex pieces of gear – neoprene feet, water-proof fabrics treated with water-repellent finishes, stretchy shoulder straps, metal snaps and zippers, each of these items adds a layer of complexity to a…

5 min Read
Patagonia Employees’ My Footprint Series: Learning by Osmosis

Series intro: The “My Footprint” series shares the stories of Patagonia friends and employees who have been inspired by The Footprint Chronicles, and whose inspiring lives help fuel the vision of what we can do as a company. Their stories are offered here, glimpses of individual footprints spotted along the path toward positive change. We…

Patagonia
4 min Read
Footprint Chronicles Gets Freshened Up for Fall

We’ve just updated the Footprint Chronicles, our interactive mini-site we use to share information about how andwhere our products are manufactured, what the environmental costs areand how we think the process can be improved. There are a number of new features in today's Footprint update but the highlight is the release of the second in…

2 min Read
Why We Use Down and Chlorine-Free Wool

Our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are our front line of communication with Patagonia fanatics far and wide. The crew here at our Call Center in Reno, NV are at it seven days a week, taking orders, helping with returns, and most importantly, answering the astonishing range of questions our customers fire at us. Like flocks…

Old School
7 min Read
Why We Don’t Use Bamboo or PLA

Our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are our front line of communication with Patagonia fanatics far and wide. The crew here at our Call Center in Reno, NV are at it seven days a week, taking orders, helping with returns, and most importantly, answering the astonishing range of questions our customers fire at us. Like flocks…

Old School
4 min Read
Outdoor Gear Brands Unite to Promote Environmentally Friendly Textiles

It’s rare when industry competitors get together to collaborate. It’s even more unusual when they get together to discuss ways they can lessen their environmental impact. Yet that’s what happened as a result of our relationship with bluesign® technologies, an independent third party that screens the dyeing and finishing of textiles. We recently met with…

4 min Read
What is Quality for Our Time? – Watch part 3 of our Footprint Chronicles video series

Writing about Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles for the blog Greenovate, Michael Hurwitz states, “While many companies are, of course, implementing transparency initiatives, Patagonia’s project is more or less unprecedented, because of the size of the company as well as the fact that it originated from customer demand.” After over three years of steady work on our…

Patagonia
2 min Read
Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2010 E-Book – Flip Through Our Year-in-Review

Working to protect and restore the natural world can be a dynamic endeavor. To capture the energy that goes into this work, we bring you an enhanced electronic version of our Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2010 booklet. View a fireside chat with Patagonia founder and environmentalist-in-chief Yvon Chouinard, accompany world-renowned photographer Florian Schulz as he sheds…

3 min Read
What It Means to Make Patagonia a More Transparent Company

For the past nine weeks I’ve been taking a course in fiction writing. As part of the class, we write short stories and critique each other’s finished works.  The other night we critiqued a classmate’s story about a woman who worked for a corporation that took extreme measures – from forcing employees to sign far-reaching…

3 min Read
How a Beyond Factory Gets Audited with the Fair Labor Association

No one likes to be audited – even those who spend their lives auditing other people. Our Social and Environmental Responsibility Director Cara Chacon was reminded of that fact when she was suddenly informed last June that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) would be paying Patagonia a visit the following week. Cara found out about…

4 min Read
Patagonia Footwear Partners Team Up to Inspect Factories

Patagonia has been working with Wolverine World Wide (WWW) for four years to build a successful line of hiking boots, lifestyle and multi-sport shoes, sandals and more. We rely heavily on WWW’s experience making footwear – an extremely complicated process – but stay involved in every step of the process. That’s why members of Patagonia’s…

greenewsurfer
4 min Read
Hiking Boots with a Lighter Footprint

Building an environmentally conscious hiking boot that’s also a top performer is no easy task. Design and construction are complex; so is the supply chain. As Backpacker magazine put it: “Boots are the most complex gear in our kit, with numerous components – fabrics, leathers, soles, shanks, glues, padding, laces, hardware – plus myriad sewing…

greenewsurfer
5 min Read
What We’ve Learned About Our Down

We’re proud of the down clothing we make. The quality (fill-power or insulation value) of the down is excellent and appropriate to end use, as are the shell fabrics. The designs are beautiful; down clothing of all kinds has become an important part of our business. Their popularity helps pay the bills (and 1% of…

Patagonia
5 min Read
The Lowdown on Down: An Update

In April 2011, we posted here a report on problems we’ve experienced sourcing down for our down clothing. As we mentioned, quality is not the problem. We’re proud of the down clothing we make. The designs are simple and beautiful, the fabrics are strong and lightweight, and the quality (fill-power or insulation value) of the…

5 min Read
Why We Don’t Use Bamboo in Our Wetsuits

Want to know what’s up with this ad? Continue reading to learn why we don’t use bamboo fabrics in our wetsuits.ON BAMBOO AND RAYON Bamboo Becomes Rayon Bamboo is the fastest-growing woody plant in the world, capable of growing up to four feet a day. Most of it is grown organically (though very little is…

3 min Read
Patagonia Clothing: Made Where? How? Why?

About once a week, one of our stores or our customer service receives a question about the manufacturing of Patagonia clothing: Where do you make your clothes? Are they made in China? Why? Why don’t make you make them here in the United States? What are the conditions inside your factories? We thought it would…

Enviro editor
7 min Read
Introducing the New Footprint Chronicles on Patagonia.com

by Lisa Polley As an employee of Patagonia for the past 12 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many projects. Some of these have been interesting, some just a necessary part of my job. Never have I experienced a project with such a direct impact on the company, on its employees and on…

Lisa Polley
6 min Read
Excerpt from “The Responsible Company” by Yvon Chouinard

We are still in the earliest stages of learning how what we do for a living both threatens nature and fails to meet our deepest human needs. The impoverishment of our world and the devaluing of the priceless undermine our physical and economic well-being. Yet the depth and breadth of technological innovation of the past…

Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley
8 min Read
Well to Wheel – UCSB Grad Students Evaluate Patagonia’s Transportation Practices & Opportunities

Over the years, Patagonia has focused a tremendous amount of time and energy on finding ways to reduce the impacts of our business operations. Through life cycle analyses of our clothing and gear, we’ve learned that most of the environmental impacts come from growing or synthesizing the fibers and manufacturing the fabrics. But until recently,…

Patagonia
3 min Read
Wooly in Patagonia

We have some great benefits at Patagonia. But none is better than the opportunity to volunteer with environmental groups through our internship program. During my 15 years working as an editor here at our headquarters in Ventura, I’ve gotten to follow wild buffalo in West Yellowstone, see the effects of industrial forestry in Chile, learn…

Jim Little
7 min Read
Working Towards Responsible Supply Chains: Our Factory Monitoring Efforts

All of us at Patagonia have been shaken by the recent tragic events in Bangladesh. We offer our deepest condolences to all of the victims and their families. We are monitoring the press, the actions of governments around the world in response and the courageous efforts by the charities on the ground. Our stakeholders may…

6 min Read
Re-Imagining Rubber: PLUSfoam’s Flip-Flop Recycling Revolution

Even the most tender-footed outdoor enthusiasts amongst us are familiar with the scenario. You are walking back to camp from a quick creek swim, or perhaps making your way home after a day spent chasing the hollow insides of pitching lumps of salt water, and your trusty flip-flops decide to blow out. Maybe the strap…

Ethan Stewart
7 min Read
Working for Wildness – Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2013

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Thoreau This year, Patagonia will be 40 years old. There is much to celebrate on this anniversary, but what I am proudest of is the support we’ve given the people who do the real work to save wildness: grassroots activists. I’m not an activist. I don’t…

Yvon Chouinard
4 min Read
Patagonia’s Plastic Packaging: A Study on the Challenges of Garment Delivery

Patagonia’s finished goods factories package each individual product we make in a polybag. Some of our direct customers (people who order from our catalog or Patagonia.com) have expressed disappointment in the amount of waste generated by polybags. This customer feedback inspired us to investigate ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated from Patagonia’s…

Nellie Cohen
9 min Read
Trying to Be Responsible – Patagonia Environmental & Social Initiatives 2014

We just finished our 2014 Environmental & Social Initiatives booklet and would love to share it with you. In it you’ll find a pretty comprehensive accounting of everything Patagonia did this year to conduct ourselves in an environmentally and socially conscious manner. The booklet includes stories about our efforts as a business and as individuals,…

Patagonia
2 min Read
Benefit Corporation Update: Patagonia Passes B Impact Assessment, Improves Score to 116

Patagonia has a passion for the outdoors. We aspire to make the best products for the most committed athletes, all the while trying to minimize our impact on the earth and the communities that inhabit it. It can be challenging at times for us to clearly convey how this passion for the outdoors is so…

Elissa Loughman
5 min Read
Patagonia Introduces 100% Traceable Down

From this season (fall 2014) forward, all Patagonia down products contain only 100% Traceable Down. This means all of the down in all of our down products can be traced back to birds that were never force-fed and never live-plucked—we never blend with down we can't trace. The Traceable Down Standard provides the highest assurance of animal…

3 min Read
Our DWR Problem

Please refer to the updated version of this post for the most recent information about Patagonia’s work to improve chemical safety in our supply chain. Patagonia—as well as other high-quality outdoor outerwear suppliers—for years relied on a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) of a certain chemistry (described below) to bead up, then disperse, surface moisture from…

Patagonia
4 min Read
How a Deeper Dive into Our Supply Chain Led to a New Migrant Worker Standard

Imagine paying $7,000 to get a job. That’s what some labor brokers charge migrant workers in Asian countries to place them in factory work in Taiwan, where many factory jobs go wanting these days. The practice is considered an acceptable part of doing business, though brokers regularly charge above legal limits. Transportation, work visas and…

Patagonia
9 min Read
TPP? One global business says, “No thanks.”

By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO Patagonia opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and Fast Track approval. We stand to gain financially from TPP and the potential duty relief on products made within the region, but the minor potential gains are not worth the social and environmental costs. We have listened closely to the Administration’s…

Rose Marcario, CEO
3 min Read
PETA’s Wool Video [Updated]

Update 8/17/15: Thank you to everyone who commented on this story. Your feedback is very important to us. Please see our follow-up post on this issue for the latest news. PETA has shown us video footage from within the Ovis 21 farm network that supplies merino wool for Patagonia’s baselayers and insulation. It is as…

Patagonia
7 min Read
Patagonia to Cease Purchasing Wool from Ovis 21

Dear Friends, We’ve spent the past several days looking deep into our wool supply chain, shocked by the disturbing footage of animal cruelty that came to light last week. Patagonia’s partnership with Ovis 21 has been a source of pride because of the program’s genuine commitment to regenerating the grassland ecosystem, but this work must…

Rose Marcario, CEO
2 min Read
An Update on Our DWR Problem

Update: The majority of this post first appeared on March 6, 2015. It was updated on September 8, 2015 and has been updated again on July 15, 2016 with the most recent information about Patagonia’s work to improve chemical safety in our supply chain. Patagonia—as well as other high-quality outdoor outerwear suppliers—for years relied on a Durable…

Patagonia
5 min Read
Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015

In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work but they make up just 2% of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50% of all environmental grants and donations. Meanwhile, funding the environmental…

Patagonia
4 min Read
Patagonia Opposes TPP

By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO Now that full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been made public, we can say unequivocally that we oppose it, as it advances the interests of big business at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses. This confirms our previous fears (here and here)…

Rose Marcario, CEO
3 min Read
Repair is a Radical Act

This holiday season, I have an early New Year’s resolution for the sake of Planet Earth: let’s all become radical environmentalists. This sounds like a big leap—but it’s not. All you need is a sewing kit and a set of repair instructions. As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet…

Rose Marcario, CEO
5 min Read
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