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Whats next for Patagonia’s Common Threads Programs?

January 18th, 2011

The following is an excerpt from the Spring 2011 Patagonia Workbook. Common Threads is just one of many efforts Patagonia has undertaken to fulfill their Mission Statement: Make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

For Spring, 2011 90% of all Patagonia products are recyclable. This puts them shy of their original goal of 100%, but represents a major achievement involving five years of effort.

Their holdout styles include four accessories, five wetsuits, 21 fishing pieces and all 27 pack/luggage styles. They are addressing what it will take to include these in Common Threads in the future without compromising performance.

Common Threads as a program will take a new turn beginning with Spring, 2011 – and become a more comprehensive approach to keeping all Patagonia clothing and gear in use for as long as possible and out of landfills forever. They will provide full details this fall.

Common Threads is a key component of Patagonia’s efforts to reduce their environmental footprint. But it’s not the only one. They chose where possible (in 65% of all styles) raw materials they call “e-fibers” that cause less environmental harm than do their conventional or non-recycled competitors. They use recycled rather that virgin polyester or nylon, organic rather than conventionally grown cotton, “Tencel” rather than nylon.

Patagonia has supported the independent “bluesign standard” since 2000. Nine of their textile suppliers have now also signed on with “bluesign” to reduce resource consumption and vet dye and finish chemicals used throughout the supply chain. They are working with other companies in the outdoor industry to encourage their suppliers to adopt the “bluesign standard” as well. The Patagonia line now contains 20% “bluesign” approved materials.

Through their “Footprint Chronicles”, they track, measure and report the environmental impact of many of the products they make. They also build everything to high quality standards to last longer and require less frequent replacement. They design clothing that retains its appeal for many years.

Other companies are now following suit with the recycling and/or recycled content programs of their own. And the outdoor industry as a whole is at work on a promising consumer-facing environmental index. Patagonia applauds these efforts, and welcomes the hard work of everyone to lighten their footprint as fast as they can.

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