As you replace your worn-out summer clothing, check out Patagonia for long-lasting clothes made from environmentally-friendly fabrics. The company offers hundreds of items in these fabrics, which they call E-fibers. Patagonia sells clothing made from organic cotton, recycled polyester, hemp, chlorine-free wool, recycled nylon, and tencel lyocell. Patagonia’s summer line-up includes Women’s Meridian Board Shorts made from recycled polyester (93%), Men’s Paddler Board Shorts made with a 100% recycled polyester liner, and Live SimplyTM t-shirts for all ages made from 100% organic cotton and now entirely PVC-free (as of Spring 2009, so check with customer service before you buy). While shopping online, you can choose to view only products made with E-fibers. The website also provides the Product Footprint of some items, including distance traveled, CO2 emissions, waste generated, and energy consumed. The company even owns up to the negative aspects of producing the product. Patagonia’s website truly allows you to be a conscientious consumer.
You can also feel good that your purchase is supporting a company active in environmental issues. Below is an impressive list of Patagonia’s environmental work.
•Co-founded The Conservation Alliance in 1989 to encourage outdoors companies to donate to environmental groups.
•Implemented the Patagonia Employee Internship Program in 1993, which allows employees to work for an environmental organization while still getting paid by Patagonia.
•Has organized Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference since 1994.
•Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in 2002 helped start 1% For the Planet, a non-profit corporation that encourages businesses to donate 1% of net annual sales to environmental grassroots organizations.
•Involved in Organic Exchange since 2002, a non-profit organization with the goal of expanding organic agriculture.
•Launched Common Threads Garment Recycling Program in 2005, which recycles consumers’ Capilene® Performance Baselayers, Patagonia® fleece, Polartec® fleece clothing of any brand, Patagonia cotton T-shirts, and some polyester and nylon 6 products.
•Received a Gold rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the Reno Service Center expansion building.
•Built a 66 kW, 360-panel solar electric system at their headquarters, which provides 12% of their power.
•Restoring 173,000 acres in Chile to natural habitat, a step towards creating Patagonia National Park. Visit Conservacion Patagonica for more information.
•Print catalogs on recycled paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): pages are 40% post-consumer recycled content and 60% virgin wood fiber, covers are 50% post-consumer recycled content, and inserts are 100% post-consumer recycled.
•1% of sales or 10% of pre-tax profits awarded as grants to grassroots environmental organizations.
Photo credit: Jennifer Wade
Disclaimer: I have no connection to Patagonia, financial or otherwise.