Is Patagonia an Ethical Brand?

Patagonia’s mission statement sums it up: “We’re in business to save our home planet”.

Patagonia was founded in 1973, and since then, has been creating high-quality, durable, and functional clothing, apparel, accessories, and luggage.

The brand is also outspoken about supporting environmental action and using the power of their business to drive positive change.

In this article, we’ll look at the ways in which Patagonia is pushing their sustainability agenda forwards, the materials the brand uses, worker treatment, and much more.

If you want to learn more on Patagonia’s website, visit it here.

Let’s dive in.

How Ethical is Patagonia?

In summary, Patagonia is a great brand if you’re looking to support a sustainable brand.

Let’s take a look at the facts:

  • Patagonia is a Certified B Corp
  • Patagonia donates 1% of sales revenue to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment and has done so since 1985.
  • Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, founded the nonprofit, 1% For The Planet
  • The brand offers lifelong guarantees and will repair and recycle all old Patagonia clothes to reduce waste
  • The brand is transparent about their environmental impact and progress
  • The Patagonia Action Works program helps connect environmental groups with supporters

As a B Corp, Patagonia received a B Impact Score of 151.4. The score takes into account factors such as:

  • Labor practices
  • Materials
  • Community initiatives
  • Overall environmental impact. 

The requirement to be labelled a B Corp is 80, so clearly Patagonia are doing well to receive a score of 151.4.

Patagonia B Impact Report

While the B Impact Report isn’t always perfect, it does act as a good barometer for sustainability so it’s good to see Patagonia performing so well.

Naturally, no apparel company will ever be truly sustainable, as the act of manufacturing is not completely sustainable, even if there are initiatives to offset the emissions and harm done.

How Does Patagonia Treat Staff and Workers?

Patagonia is transparent about their history, and you can view a detailed timeline of how the brand has continuously improved on their labor practices and ensured every worker is treated as fairly as possible.

The company is also a founding member of the Fair Labor Association® which acts as a third-party body that regularly audits the labor practices in Patagonia’s supply chain.

The company is also well-known for being one of the first companies in the US to launch an on-site childcare program to help families avoid having to face financial struggles due to childcare costs.

Patagonia’s Materials and Production Processes

Patagonia use a variety of sustainable and eco-friendly materials, including:

  • Regenerative Organic Certified Pilot Cotton
  • Recycled fishing nets
  • Recycled polyester (and other recycled materials)
  • Hemp

Every item of clothing or equipment is clearly labelled so you know exactly what goes into each garment.

Patagonia is also aiming to be a completely carbon neutral company by 2025, offsetting all of the emissions created in their production process. 

What is Patagonia’s Carbon Footprint?

Recent data shows that Patagonia’s emissions per year amount to approximately 230,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions.

95% of those carbon emissions are generated during the supply chain process — from growing crops to create the materials, to shipping, to warehouse operations.

They offset this using renewable energy, switching to low-emission materials and dyes, as well as using their shipping data to improve the efficiency of product shipments to customers.

Wrapping Up

If you’re interested in shopping more sustainably, Patagonia is, in our opinion, one of the best options out there.

The company has roots in the outdoors and sustainability, and the founder and team have always been vocal and passionate about supporting environmental causes.

Click here to visit Patagonia’s website to learn more.

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The Ecothes Team

Hi, we're the team behind Ecothes. We started this platform to help share the sustainable brands we discover, making products from clothing, to homeware, to sneakers.

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