Patagonia: The Give Back Company

By Rosie McGinley-Kase

Patagonia Wetsuits at South Coast Surf Shops

From surfing and skating to rock climbing and fly-fishing, Patagonia has the gear for it all. But what makes them so different from other companies is their eco-friendly status of course. Patagonia is a company truly striving for the good health of our planet and its natural habitats. They make eco friendly gear and fight for eco friendly causes, making them one of the most active companies out there.

“What does Patagonia have to do with surfing,” you ask? Our friends from the North are commandeering some eco-friendly products that are changing the way we think about what surfers use and buy, one product at a time.

Lucky for us, they are starting their surf division with Patagonia wetsuits. (Men’s Patagonia Wetsuits available at South Coast beginning November 5th 2008)

Patagonia uses organic wool in the lining of their wetsuits, just one of the many ways the outdoor company is expanding their message through their product line. Patagonia Wetsuits at South Coast Surf ShopsTo start off, their wetsuits are made from high quality Japanese neoprene . Then the suits are lined with a merino-wool mix, made with recycled polyester, which pushes water away from the body to help keep you warmer. Patagonia also uses PVC free knee pads. PVC is a plastic often used in wetsuits that is toxic to the environment.

Patagonia is one of the most environmentally conscious companies out there because they take into consideration how much waste there is in the world. Which is why they started a program called Common Threads Garment Recycling. People can donate any of their old worn out garments to Patagonia and they turn it around and recycle our old threads into brand new ones. The process is long but to sum it all up they chop up old clothes turn them into polyester through a long process and weave it into a brand new piece of clothing.

Patagonia is not only into recycling old threads, but they start out new clothing eco-friendly too, by using organic cotton. Organic cotton can be found in most of their clothing lines, as we as other earth friendly and organic materials, such as wool.

Not only does Patagonia give back to the environment through their clothing, they fight for environmental causes through the company making real life changes. One of the big campaigns Patagonia has going on right now is VTE (Vote for the Environment), which encourages consumers to get involved and vote. On the Patagonia website, they give important pieces of information about the upcoming election and links to further inform yourself.

Patagonia is also involved in several other programs such as Environmental Grants, where they give 10% of their pre-taxed profits or 1% of their sales, which ever is higher, to a grassroots environmental program. They also created 1% for the Planet, which is an alliance of business that want to help in the fight to save the earth, by donating 1% of sales profits as well.

The Patagonia website includes a feature called Leading the Examined Life, which gives us the consumers a idea of where products come from and how much it effects the environment. This page shows everything from the best to worst. Patagonia isn’t trying to hide anything.

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