Patagonia just keeps expanding the sustainability options these days.
Yesterday, we broke the news that the Ventura, Calif. company was going Fair Trade in a big way; a natural progression for a company that has made a name for itself endorsing responsible business methods. But last month it did something that may seem equally impressive: it opened the doors for customers to purchase good quality, used Patagonia clothing that has been turned in for credit.
In September, the company launched the Worn Wear section of its Common Threads Partnership. The new outlet, which is now available in four stores across the U.S., underscores Patagonia’s long-standing commitment to sustainable use of its products.
Patagonia stores in Portland, Seattle, Palo Alto Calif. and Chicago (Lincoln Square outlet) will feature the used clothing line. Items accepted for trade in include Patagonia clothing like shells, cold weather items such as ski and alpine pants, down and synthetic insulation. Customers who trade in used items can receive 50 percent credit on the price of their next purchase.
Vickie Achee, Head of Retail Marketing, said that the new venture will allow customers to keep their favorite Patagonia clothing in circulation by making it available to others through the Worn Wear program.
“Worn Wear started as a pilot program in our Portland, Oregon store in October 2012, and over the last year we’ve seen remarkable demand and interest in the program,” Achee said. “"We are excited to provide more customers with the opportunity to join us in the Common Threads Partnership …”
The Common Threads Partnership is founded on the principle of the four “Rs”: Reduce, Repair, Reuse and Recycle. Since 2005, the company says it has recycled more than 56 tons of secondhand clothing and gear through its partnership with eBay. Worn Wear extends that concept by allowing customers to shop for specific used items at various outlets. It also reinforces a main concept of the partnership: that customers and Patagonia accept mutual responsibility for ensuring that they buy only what is needed and repair, reuse and recycle what they buy.
“By taking the Common Threads Pledge, our customers and our company together achieve the fifth 'R' in which we Reimagine a world where we take from it only what nature can replenish," Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia's VP of environmental affairs explained.
Patagonia’s continuing effort to promote responsible sustainable use of its products proves that customer input about the values they wish to see endorsed by the companies they support and buy from really works. Just as important, however, is the message that Common Threads Partnership sends with its mutual pledge: companies that demonstrate CSR – corporate social responsibility – in the products they manufacture and the effort they commit to a sustainable ecology will reap the benefits of a loyal customer base that earnestly wants them to succeed in their goals.
Image of Patagonia sign courtesy of Yukiko Matsuoka
Image of synchilla vest courtesy of Hajime Nakano
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.