The outdoor industry's pioneer of the sustainability concept has announced a new milestone in its efforts, claiming that it is going to be the first apparel manufacturer of its size that will be capable to trace down the entire supply chain for its entire collection of down-insulated products, starting with the autumn/winter 2014 collection.
After a six-year effort, it will be able to ensure that its down feathers will not be sourced from birds that have been force-fed for the production of foie gras or plucked while they were alive. The company has been able to certify this and all other elements of the supply chain, from the farm to the factory, through their physical inspection by an independent, third-party traceability expert.
In another move, Patagonia has expanded the sale of used Patagonia clothing to dedicated Common Threads Worn Wear sections at its stores in Portland, Seattle, Palo Alto and Chicago, building on an experiment launched at the Portland location one year ago. Customers will be able to purchase used Patagonia products and receive credits for bringing in their clothing for resale, equal to 50 percent of the price charged to their new users. The credits can be redeemed in Patagonia's physical stores and on its transactional website.
The program encourages consumers to make a “Common Threads Pledge,” under which they will buy only what they need, repair what breaks, reuse and share what they no longer need, and get the rest of be recycled.
It is parent of a new campaign about “The Responsible Economy” that was launched by Patagonia a few weeks ago in connection with its 40th anniversary, noting that it was the first brand to become a member of the Bluesign system, one of the first U.S. firms to introduce Fair Trade certified apparel, and a founding member of the Conservation Alliance, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the Fair Labor Association and other environmental promotion bodies.
Through this campaign, Patagonia is asking consumers to question whether they should consume more and more to keep the economy going. It's a conversation that started in 2011 with a famous “Don't buy this jacket” advertisement, which ironically contributed to a sudden 30 percent jump in Patagonia's sales. The company made a turnover of $575 million in the year ended last April, up from $540 million in the previous financial year, and 10 percent of that was generated in Europe.