0ur Footprint Chronicles were intended to ignite conversation every bit as much as corporate introspection. And the comments are starting to roll in. Below, you’ll find some intriguing thoughts from among the very first responses we received to the Footprint Chronicles. In the interest of helping to zero-in our own focus on big issues, we’ve broken comments out into three separate themes: Materials, Energy Use, and Labor.
It’s an organic process, one that will take shape as we dive into all of the questions that come with trying to do a sustainable business on a threatened planet. But make no mistake: this is your conversation. Your thoughts, passions, and inspired ideas about sustainability are welcome. It’s our hope that as the discussion unfolds, we’ll hear new ideas to help guide the continued examination of our corporate life.
Please read, comment, and write us with your own thoughts. Please read on for some recent comments and questions about our Materials sourcing. Look for comments about Energy Use and Labor later this week.
Footprint: Polo Shirt
I respect you for your honesty and hope all your competitors start to follow suit and then the competition is not just on quality and price, but also impact, and then you’ll start to reduce this horrific impact.
Perhaps then you’ll realise you can get cotton and people that can sew in the US!
BTW – I live in the UK but that doesn’t seem to appear as a country; and after all that support we’ve given your President in his "war on terror" …
It appears that this Chinese leather company is doing a number of outstanding things in terms of energy use. Are they still using chromium in the tanning process? If so, I would strongly recommend a switch to a newer technology that eliminates the use of this toxic metal. I’ve bought shoes with leather tanned using vegetable oil and others where the tanning agent was spruce bark. Please consider these less toxic approaches.
Footprint: Polo Shirt
Thank you for the amazing transparency and truthtelling about real costs embodied in your products through this Footprint Chronicles project. Very enlightening. I can’t help but be saddened, however, after looking at the products’ histories, to see that even with one of the most responsible companies existent in the U.S., the energy, waste, and greenhouse gas costs are so high.
It seems the problem is the globalized production process. I was particularly struck by the information on the distances of trade involved. Why, if organic cotton can and is being grown closer to the bioregion where Reno is, is Patagonia sourcing it from Turkey? The video of the plant owner in Thailand struck me too when he mentioned that even San Joaquin cotton is shipped there only to be turned right around and shipped back. It reminds me of redundant trade in foods, where identical products pass each other on ships crossing the oceans – New Zealand apples in Washington state, Washington apples in New Zealand, California almonds going to Italy and vice versa, etc.
What about localization? Has Patagonia considered localizing the whole production processes? I am not arguing for xenophobia or autarchy here by any means. Just that surely there is need for sustainable local economies everywhere, and each region of the world should be able to produce its own main needs locally, and more, that global transport by fossil fueled carriers is inherently polluting and exacerbating of global warming. Why not buck the ‘race to the bottom’ trend that is globalization, by creating a center in San Joaquin or Reno or somewhere closer to home that can spin and sew organic California cotton? This seems to me the only way to make these products more energetically sustainable. I guess my basic question is why must Patagonia go to Turkey and Thailand and such for organic cotton and sewing, rather than localize production more wherever you sell your products?
Finally, a quick comment about a product i bought today. I bought the organic cotton denim jeans, but was disappointed to later see that they have 5% spandex in them. I would love it if you would offer them without the spandex, i.e. only organic cotton, as i like to use clothes to the end, and then be able to safely compost them!
Thanks for your great work, looking forward to more localized production processes.