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Retail Innovation Shout Out: Patagonia Advocates Thoughtful Consumption

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Patagonia wants you to buy less in the name of sustainability.

Patagonia is devoted to protecting the planet. With one fifth of the 150 billion garments manufactured per year ending up incinerated or becoming landfill, Patagonia takes end-to-end responsibility for their products and wants their customers to do the same. The goal is for consumers to buy less and hold onto merchandise longer.

Patagonia’s business model centers on manufacturing, repairing and recycling garments so they last a lifetime. Patagonia not only practices sustainability in textile innovation, such as using recycled plastic bottles in the manufacture of their fleece and employing natural rubber, rather than petroleum-based neoprene, in their wet suits.

They also practice sustainability in their repair, re-purpose and recycle program, Worn Wear. The Worn Wear initiative aims to keep Patagonia gear in motion longer, and the website features instructions on how to repair Patagonia merchandise yourself, provides details on trade-in programs and partnerships enabling consumers to give away or trade products no longer needed, and provides instructions for returning products at the end of their life so that they can be repurposed or recycled (including a store drop-off option to reduce environmental impact).

Patagonia took sustainability one step further by pledging all of its 2016 Black Friday revenues to ecologically focused nonprofits. Consumers reacted, flocking to Patagonia’s website and stores, resulting in sales of $10 million dollars, 5 times the company’s $2 million-dollar goal. Clearly this model resonates with consumers. Bravo, Patagonia.

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