Patagonia and VF Corporation were among the outdoor-related companies that weighed in on the debates around climate change as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) was held in Paris earlier this month.
The production of cotton and the textile and apparel manufacturing industry in general will have to adapt to new and more sustainable environmental guidelines, as the governments participating in the conference agreed to limit the increase in the global average temperature to below two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. They also called for a “just transition” to fairer labor standards.
Rose Marcario, Patagonia's chief executive, discussed ways in which consumers could support changes toward less carbon consumption through their buying and consumption habits at a conference around the Cop 21. She took part in The Consumer Pickle, a panel discussion at the International New York Times' Energy for Tomorrow Conference, along with Peter Agnefjäll, chief executive at Ikea.
Marcario has consistently argued that companies and consumers should share the responsibility to reduce overall consumption. As reported by The Cleanest Line, she pointed to initiatives such as Worn Wear, the Footprint Chronicles and Patagonia's self-imposed Earth Tax, to demonstrate that clear ecology-focused marketing could stimulate brand recognition and expansion.
As part of the discussion, Patagonia's chief executive explained the counter-intuitive message that consumers should refrain from buying unnecessary items. She said that consumers are increasingly aware of what they are purchasing and eager to buy into a value system – not just an extra product. Marcario travelled to Le Bourget with Lisa Pike Sheehy, Patagonia's vice president of environmental activism.
VF Corporation, the owner of The North Face and Timberland, among many other brands, joined more than 140 American companies in support of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. They wanted to voice support for a strong outcome from the conference, and for climate change action by American leadership at all levels of the government and in the private sector. VF itself has pledged to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025 at its owned and operated facilities, among other commitments.