Patagonia: a clothing company that wears its heart on its organic cotton sleeve

The US drags its feet in climate negotiations. A few hours after being harassed into signing the Bali accord, the White House started to distance itself from the hazy targets agreed by the rest of the developed world. But some American companies lead the world in environmental policies. The best businesses disclose more about their manufacturing processes and their carbon footprint than almost any European or Asian companies. One of the best examples is Patagonia, a highly-regarded maker of specialist outdoor clothing. To jaded European eyes, its environmental plans look almost embarrassingly earnest and idealistic. The admissions of its own weaknesses are delivered with a humility that we rarely see on this side of the Atlantic. What UK business would voluntarily describe the production processes of one of its key products as ‘not sustainable’? Or admit that a complex chemical in the water repellent used in its outer garments (and those of all its competitors) is highly persistent and building up in the environment?

Read More