Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Patagonia and Sustainability

Patagonia has had an environmental ethos for as long as I have been aware of the brand. (I hiked in their stand-up shorts in my college days, which are long since past.) Their mantra is “reduce, repair, reuse, recycle and reimagine.” Lately, Patagonia has been urging its customers to “buy less.” Patagonia ran an ad telling people “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” They have created videos showing people how to repair used clothing and they are creating sewing kits for their customers.  They also encourage people to buy used clothing and return clothing they no longer want so Patagonia can find a new use for them. Patagonia donates 1% of its revenues to environmental causes and has set up a fund to invest in start-ups focused on sustainable food, water and energy. It makes its fleece jackets out of recycled bottles, uses only organic cotton in its cotton products, was one of the first California companies to switch to wind energy and powers its headquarters with solar panels.

In 2012, the first year of its “buy less” marketing campaign, sales increased almost one-third over the previous year as they opened 14 new stores.  Patagonia’s customers buy into and enthusiastically support its authentic environmental ethic.

(c) 2014 by Brad VanAuken, excerpted from Brand Aid, second edition, available here now.


Dale Buss, “Patagonia Enjoys Unique Benefits of Its Authentic Sustainability Ethos,” August 29, 2013.

Kyle Stock,  “Patagonia’s ‘Buy Less’ Plea Spurs More Buying,” BloombergBusinessWeek, August 28, 2013.

Jennifer Elks,  “Patagonia Launces ‘Responsible Economy’ Campaign” October 1, 2013.

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