As the holiday shopping season gets well under way, Patagonia is encouraging shoppers to … not buy things. Starting on Nov. 25, “Black Friday” in the U.S., the biggest retail day of the year, Patagonia kicked off the first of five R's in its Common Threads Initiative, geared toward reducing its environmental impact.
The first theme is “Reduce,” and is epitomized by a newspaper ad that ran on Black Friday featuring a fleece jacket with the giant headline, “Don't buy this jacket.”
The second R stands for “Repair.” Patagonia wants its customers to send used products that need repairs back to the company, and promises they will be mended within four weeks. If the flaw is Patagonia's fault, it won't charge for the repairs, and it promises “a fair price” for repairs that are necessary because of normal wear and tear.
Patagonia's partnership with eBay, reported previously, emphasizes the “reuse” aspect of the five R's. Customers have a dedicated area on eBay where they can buy and sell secondhand Patagonia products.
While this service is available only in the U.S. currently, the company is looking into expanding it into Europe.
The fourth R is “Recycle,” an aspect Patagonia started focusing on in 2006, with its Capilene baselayers. Customers are urged to return garments that can't be repaired or reused to the company, and it will make sure that they are recycled or kept until recycling is available for the particular materials.
Finally comes “Reimagine.” People are asked to make a pledge to take only what nature can replace. So far Patagonia has gotten 8,500 people to sign the pledge, and hopes to add 50,000 per year.
Patagonia notes that the jacket in the Black Friday ad, the R2, a top seller, required 135 liters of water to make – the amount necessary for 45 people for a day. Its progress from 60 percent recycled polyester to its final stage at the warehouse in Reno, Nevada, generated almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.
More information on the Common Threads Initiative is available at patagonia.com/eu/enGB/common-threads.