Patagonia’s brand is well represented by their mission statement: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. They are firm believers in being as transparent as possible from doing audits within their own supply chain to admitting when they made a mistake.
Despite their efforts, in 2011 and 2015 Patagonia had to admit to some pretty awful things. Their 2011 scandal was that an audit within the company had revealed modern slaves from Taiwan in their supply chains suffering from long hours, low wages, and large broker fees. In 2015 they were found to be sourcing wool from an Argentinian wool farm that was involved in inhumane practices such as killing and mutilating their sheep, beating them, and skinning the sheep while they were still alive. In both of these situations they openly admitted to their mistakes, said what they were going to do to fix it, and took action.
Coming from an organization that preaches transparency, it’s always sad to see what they can get caught up in. But, it’s not what they are involved in (unaware of or not), it is what they do to fix the problem. In addition to fixing those two issues that came up over the last 10 years, Patagonia is also involved in a number of initiatives.
‘The Footprint Chronicles’ is a social responsibility initiative that has greatly aided Patagonia in rising to their status as a corporate leader in transparency. The webpage allows consumers and shareholders to educate themselves on the clothes they wear and the corporation’s global activities. Through the ‘The Footprint Chronicles’, users can access an interactive map to view a variety of locations containing details on Patagonia’s supply chain and production.
Patagonia vows to stay transparent and help the world we live in last. They also do amazing things such as give their employees up to 2 months off from work, paid and with benefits, to do volunteer work. They host 5ks, a “Ride Your Bike to Work Week”, focus on zero waste through their program WORN WEAR which recycles clothing, and also donate a lot of money to grassroot organizations. Patagonia’s constant drive towards being totally transparent is so amazing and they aim to influence other big companies. Most importantly Patagonia aims to educate consumers, other businesses, as well as themselves on how to be the best we can be to our earth while not compromising the quality of our things.