Brands don’t get more transparent than Patagonia. Rather than shying away from tough conversations – such as the environmental impact of clothing production, or the widespread unfair treatment of workers in the clothing trade – Patagonia confronts these issues head-on.
That’s probably a big part of why you like them. It certainly is for us – that, and the fantastic product, obviously.
Regardless of whether you’re an avid Patagonia fan or just a casual onlooker, it’s worth taking on these new statistics that the brand has released – focusing its ‘footprint’ both in regards to the environment and wider society.
Why does Patagonia care about its footprint?
It may be a global outdoor brand nowadays, but Patagonia started off as humbly and organically as a business can. Climber Yvon Chouinard wanted equipment that was more functional than what was on the market – so he started making it himself.
Nowadays, you’d be hard-pushed to walk around any city for a day and not see a single Patagonia product, whether it’s a jacket, a tee, a backpack or a hat. As a brand, it’s popular for two reasons:
- They make high-quality stuff that looks cool wherever it’s worn – out in the countryside, on the high street, up the side off a cliff-face, walking the garden centre, quite literally wherever.
- The people behind it care about the planet and people of the world.
It’s this second point that’s crucial. Making nice-looking and even highly functional outdoor clothing is one thing, but doing it the right way – and continually striving to be even more responsible, year in and year out – is a different kettle of fish.
Patagonia openly acknowledges that the clothing industry is bad for the environment full-stop, and also exploitative of people:
“Everything we make has an impact on the planet. Globally, the clothing industry contributes up to 10% of the pollution driving the climate crisis. And apparel workers are among the lowest paid in the world.”
With that in mind, here are three newly released stats straight from the horse’s (brand’s) mouth, exemplifying just what a superb company it is – and one that is worth buying from.
72% of Patagonia products feature recycled materials
You might have already noticed how many of Patagonia’s garments, luggage and accessories are made using recycled fabrics – or fabrics that have been made using recycled materials such as plastic.
Here are some popular examples of Patagonia products that are made only from recycled materials:
- The P-6 Logo Responsibili-Tee (50% recycled cotton; 50% post-consumer recycled polyester)
- The Baggies Lights Shorts (100% recycled polyester ripstop)
- The Ultralight Black Hole Hip Pack (100% recycled nylon)
- The Lightweight Better Sweater Jacket (100% recycled polyester, and recycled elastane on the hem and cuffs)
- The Torrentshell 3L Jacket (100% recycled nylon ripstop)
In other words, most of the brand’s staples.
Long-term, Patagonia’s goal is to move this 72% up to 100%! Talk about walking the walk.
100% of the cotton Patagonia grows is organic
Although the brand utilises existing fabrics (both the synthetic and the natural) as much as possible, there is sometimes a need for fresh cotton. But this isn’t just sourced from wherever: Patagonia grows this cotton itself, organically.
Here are the two main benefits of producing organic cotton in comparison to producing (or procuring) cheap (unethical) cotton:
- 87% less water used
- 45% less CO2e created
Nuff said there?
76% of Patagonia’s products are Fair Trade Certified Sewn
As mentioned earlier, Patagonia not only cares about the planet, but also about the people living on it – especially the ‘invisible’ people who are silently exploited by the global clothing trade. Yep: the low-paid workers who make our clothes.
To combat this exploitation, Patagonia ensures that its products are Fair Trade Certified Sewn wherever possible – the current figure being 76%. So, in other words, three out of every four Patagonia items have been made ethically, with the workers being paid fair wages for their labour.
Although Patagonia would be the first to admit that 76% could be improved on, it is still the highest percentage of any clothing brand, outdoor and otherwise.
This initiative is currently supporting 66,000 workers around the world, and this figure will only continue to grow as brands like Patagonia are publicly doing the right thing while making consumers like us aware of it.
Buy eco-friendly Patagonia products from Urban Industry
Browse our full Patagonia range right here. Each product description comes with an in-depth breakdown of the materials used in the item, making it easy for you to choose responsibly.