Patagonia Add Five Products to Footprint Chronicles

Patagonia have updated their Webby Award nominated Footprint Chronicles website with five new product lifecycle assessments (LCAs). The additions are their Nine Trails shorts, Sugar and Spice shoe, Capilene 3 bottoms Vitaliti strappy dress and Puckerware shirt.

That last product (seen above) traveled 22,000 km from its fabric source to distribution centre expending enough energy per shirt to run a 18W light bulb nonstop for 49 days. The shirt created the of 41 times it's own weight in CO2 emissions and created waste equal to 2/3rds of its weight. And Patagonia can't yet find a recycled polyester that meets their standards. Although, being blended with organic cotton, it wouldn't be chemically recyclable anyhow.As we noted previously when the Californian company first launched this site as their attempt at an Examined Life, it shows a great deal of trust in their customers to provide this degree of transparency. To come out and say not only what is good about their product, but what is bad. Patagonia suggest they want to "educate consumers about the impact all manufacturing has on the environment and encourage them to make an educated choice about their clothing and other purchases."

This education is delivered via 35 filmed interviews and slideshows of factory workers, farmers, owners, designers and third-party auditors. The depth of openness is remarkable. Visitors to the Footprint Chronicles are even told the name, city and country where the manufacturing process takes place.

Patagonia is challenging other companies to follow their brazen lead. Casey Sheahan, president and CEO of Patagonia is convinced that "Customers will appreciate their honesty and reward them for it."

[ Some are trying to varying degrees: Nau have their Grey Matters webpage, Timberland its Green Index, and Mion their Eco-Metrics 'nutrition' labels. ]

For Patagonia the process is not just a marketing vehicle it also helps drive their business decisions. "The Chronicles revealed that transportation makes up only about 1 percent of our overall energy use," said Dumain. "Had we listened to the current media buzz touting transportation as the largest factor in energy consumption, we might have greatly misplaced our efforts by making strides to geographically shorten our supply chain — which would have massively impacted our business financially, logistically and perhaps even effected product quality — and we would only have reduced our energy savings by 1 percent. Instead, we are focusing our energy on areas where we can truly make a difference — right in the heart of the manufacturing process." ::Patagonia's Footprint Chronicles

Tags: California | Clothing | Organic Agriculture | Recycling

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