A trailblazer in how to run an ecologically conscious company, Patagonia has just committed to even stronger environmental-protection initiatives. The company has vowed to be carbon neutral by the year 2025, they wrote on their website.
Patagonia plans to do this through a four-part process, which they explain on their website:
- Measure Our Impact. A third-party validated system is in place to measure our impacts so we can make informed decisions and track our progress.
- Reduce Our Impact. Avoid the need for energy where we can, improve efficiency where we can’t.
- Convert to Renewable Energy. Move away from fossil fuels to cleaner, renewable energy sources for everything we do.
- Capture Carbon. Invest and test ways to remove warming gases from the atmosphere (i.e. carbon insetting sequestration programs). Think of these efforts as the difference between stopping the mess and cleaning it up.
To become carbon neutral, Patagonia will double down on sustainability throughout their supply chain because, as the company’s CEO Rose Marcario said in the trade publication Retail Drive, “that’s where all the issues are.”
“We’ve done a lot on building those supply chains and I think we all have to come to the reality that we are not going to have virgin supply chains forever because we are running out of resources,” said Marcario. “And as much as we don’t want to face that or be in denial about it, it’s true. So, you have to be innovating.”
Patagonia sources the most eco-friendly materials they can find or produce, including:
- Natural fibers: hemp, organic cotton, Tencel® (a more eco-friendly version of rayon), and Yulex® (a natural rubber)
- Recycled fibers: recycled nylon, recycled polyester, and reclaimed cotton
They also work with their supply chain partners to continually innovate on the materials front, such as recycling materials that are not traditionally recycled. The sunglasses that Patagonia sells, by Bureo, are made with recycled fishing nets – a major source of ocean pollution. Patagonia is also funding research to develop materials that are biobased, biodegradable, and even carbon-reduction positive.
Wearing used Patagonia clothing lowers the CO2, waste, and water footprint by 20-30%.
Patagonia’s used clothing program, Worn Wear®, is also right in line with their carbon reduction efforts. It turns out that extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months of active use can reduce carbon, waste, and water footprints by around 20-30%. This is one reason the company focuses so much on creating durable, high-quality products.
In addition to the products and materials themselves, Patagonia’s operations are moving towards being carbon neutral. The company has 75 retail stores around the world, as well as seven regional headquarters and two distribution centers. They’ve always prioritized using existing vs. new buildings for their locations to keep their environmental footprint as low as possible. In addition, they have a set of sustainable building principles that include using energy efficiency technologies, renewable energy, and reclaimed materials.
Read more about Patagonia’s initiatives to fight climate change at Patagonia.com.