Friday, November 29, 2013

Patagonia: A Model of Responsible Retail

Being a responsible consumer entails spending money in ways that attempt to minimize adverse impacts on people, the environment and society. But what is a responsible retailer? There are several good examples of companies who tirelessly advocate responsible consumerism, but none is better than outdoor apparel company Patagonia.

Patagonia has long been a champion of responsible retail. They ask consumers to consider the environmental impacts of their purchases. Rather than encourage people to buy more stuff, Patagonia has run adds asking people to buy what they really need.

In 2011 Patagonia launched the Common Threads Partnership to reduce the environmental footprint. Now Patagonia is encouraging people to extend the lives of their old items by repairing them rather than buying new. To make this point, Patagonia has partnered with iFixit to offer tutorials on how to repair Patagonia items and fix basic things like a broken zipper or loose stitching on a jacket.

Patagonia and iFixit is running free sewing and repair clinics in the retailer’s stores on Black Friday as part of a campaign called "Buy Less, Repair More." Patagonia is also showing Worn Wear a documentary about customers, the lives they lived, and how their purchases have endured.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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