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Hi David, Thanks for the comment and questions. Obviously, big issues like the ones we're trying to address are works-in-progress, and the way we address them as a business will evolve over time. If you haven't done so already, poke around on our website a little. You can find information about our quality refinements and the depth of our warranty here: (http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=5175&ln=74) And we've got the used clothing exchange covered here: http://www.patagonia.com/us/ebay/used-gear thanks, lc
Hi J, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You're absolutely right to call out everything from Yvon's travels to the various ways in which we depend on fossil fuels to make our business run. As a matter of fact, you’ve pinpointed the dilemma we face: we depend on oil and we need to reduce our dependence. Your note is a reminder that we owe our readers an update on what we're doing. We’re working on that update now, and will post it here on The Cleanest Line soon. In the meantime, while we work to minimize our reliance on fossil fuels, we feel it's important to speak out against projects that have the potential to compound our fuel and climate-related issues. The Keystone XL pipeline stands to dramatically increase greenhouse gas production while simultaneously eliminating vast tracts of carbon-trapping forests, all for spurious gains. These are great costs to pay simply to continue producing petroleum, at a time when science and economics alike indicate we'd be wise to learn to live without it. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts and being part of the conversation. -lc
Hi r. Apologies for the delayed reply. I posted a response for you yesterday, but it seems there was an oopsie, as I don't see it on the site today. Apologies if this ends up being a repeat. Here was the gist of yesterday's message: The easiest way to begin your search is by contacting both our Europe and U.S. offices via email: EUROPE - directsales_europe@patagonia.com United States customer_service@patagonia.com Let them know what you're looking for (name of product, style/item # [if you have it] color, and size) and how to get a hold of you, and they'll do their best to track it down for you. cheers, lc
Toggle Commented Sep 28, 2011 on The 48-Hour Dress at The Cleanest Line
Indeed MM, you've pretty much outlined the very questions that we've inviting people to start asking. The time-honored capitalist argument is that businesses arise (and grow) to meet demand. But businesses and customers alike are starting to realize that this leads to a dead end. One in which all the "demands" are met - by using up all the resources. As a business, if we're not actively asking questions and contradicting ourselves, then we're not growing, changing, and discovering new ways to do business. Meaningful change often starts as a direct contradiction to an established identity. To borrow a phrase overheard in different circles, you must be willing to sacrifice who you've been to become who you want to be. As for that pant-cuff dilemma. A simple solution might be to use a simple velcro leg strap, like the kind cyclists use to keep their pant cuff from snagging on their bike's chain ring. Let us know if you end up giving that a try (and if it was a worthwhile suggestion). kindly, lc
Great question, Ethan. That seems to be at the front of everyone's mind now. Seems like the best place to start is Chile's own, Patagonia ¡Sin Represas!: http://www.patagoniasinrepresas.cl/final/index-en.php lc
Sorry, KC. Think we might have posted the wrong caption with your photo. Was this the one that was supposed to go with it?: Dude! How high am...Is that? :) lc
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2011 on Picture Story: Competency at The Cleanest Line
Very well said, Joel. Your comments describe a place I think a lot of thoughtful people find themselves in. I tried describing something similar in this earlier blog post (http://www.thecleanestline.com/2009/04/my-footprint-charting-a-course-of-questions.html). The post ends with an indication that there is a part 2, a continuation of the line of questioning that parallels the one your describe in your comments. That was well over a year ago that I wrote that post, and I still haven't been able to reach any sort of peace or conclusion. Your note is a solid dose of inspiration to turn back to that examination - one thing I am sure of is that the only way we will solve the problems you've outlined is by asking questions like yours, and having the courage to answer them honestly. thanks, lc
Amen, Jim. You hit the nail on the head about progress and contradiction. I've quoted him elsewhere on this blog, but one of my favorite quotes along these lines is from Emerson: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
Hi Garret, Following up on our response from a couple weeks ago, here's a bit more information. The leather is indeed a byproduct of the food industry, and comes from cows that have been both raised and slaughtered in North America or the European Union. According to Mark Hoffman, one of Patagonia's main liaisons with Wolverine, "Much like the case with apparel, the largest evironmental issue with leather has much more to do with its tanning process and waste management, this is where we've made significant inroads. Having a tanning parter in China who manages its waste water in the way our partners do is no small feat; this is a huge step in the right direction. We do focus on using the best tanning processes available in the industry and continue to work with our supply chain to mitigate our impacts where we can." In regards to animal treatment - European and North American standards are the highest and usually have best practices, but ultimately, we cannot purchase directly from farms so we have to rely on our suppliers. This is an area where we'll be working to realize improvements wherever possible. Much of the above information is drawn from our Footprint Chronicles sitelet. We'll be updating it shortly, and it will include a detailed look at the leathers we use. You'll be able to find videos and slide-show information under the "P26 Boot" portion of the Footprint Chronicles (http://www.patagonia.com/us/footprint/index.jsp) -lc
Ryan and Jim, These are great questions, and they hit on a wide variety of elements within the global supply chain. I'll offer the best answers I can here, and also share your inquiries with colleagues who are engaged with some of these issues on a daily basis in the event they can provide more insight. Ryan, you've asked three distinct questions in your post. The first - how do we justify manufacturing on the other side of the world? - has a long answer, which you can find here - (http://www.thecleanestline.com/2009/05/your-thoughts-on-the-footprint-chronicles-why-dont-you-make-more-of-your-goods-in-the-usa.html) A gross simplification of that post is that we committed ourselves to overseas production decades before it was a problem and we did it for "old school" reasons - that's where we found the best equipment and best quality. With those business relationships stretching back over 30 years, our questions aren't about selling out our ethics to chase margins overseas; instead, they're often about seeing if a valued and trusted relationship conflicts with our commitment to environmental issues. At present, after multiple years of investigation and comparison, we can say that the shipping components of our product account for one of our smallest environmental impacts. One of our largest has to do with dyes and chemicals used in producing clothing. It's why we're putting more of a focus on garment recycling and bluesign certification right now than we are on shipping. An interesting additional note: when the U.S. underwent its shift from a production and tech economy to a services and information economy, we lost an astonishing amount of manufacturing infrastructure. What a country like China has that U.S. can't come close to at the moment is a very short distance between source material and finished product. In other words, if we were suddenly able to move manufacturing to the states, we'd still have to have the materials needed for that item shipped from other countries. In some parts of China, the raw material for fibers (ex. hemp) are grown just an hour or so away from where that fiber is turned into garments. Hemp, it turns out, is illegal to grow in the U.S. Which is another issue entirely . . . And to your question, Jim - We get this question often, so please don't take this the wrong way when I say that the question comes from a cynical place. That cynical place assumes (admittedly, it's often accurate) that it's all about business, and business is all about the bottom line, even if that means exploitation. Regardless of how well-founded such an assumption might be, it leaves out the possibility that there are actual factories and businesspeople out there who believe in doing right by their employees, their customers, and the environment. Within the Chinese shoe manufacturing sector alone, there are factories that realize a competitive business advantage to doing things right (instead of just going through the motions while the inspectors conduct a site visit). By being able to produce goods at high environmental and social standards, these factories earn access to something uncommon in their sector - the ability to be more selective about the companies they contract with. It also allows them an additional means of negotiating contract values. Put another way, they can charge more because they can do more, and do it better. Hope that addresses some of your concerns. If you have not already done so, please check out our Footprint Chronicles site here: http://www.patagonia.com/us/footprint/index.jsp The videos, slide shows and maps address a lot of the questions we've touched on here. kindly, lc
Hi Garret, This being the holidays, a good number of the folks who are best-suited to answer your questions are out on vacation. Please note that it might take a week or two before we can get back to you with more details. For the time being, here's what we can tell you: Our shoe manufacturer, Wolverine, obtains the leather from a 3rd party and that supplier uses only leather that is a bi-product of the food industry. Also, Wolverine's been making a big push to improve the standards of the tanning industry and use only the best, most environmentally friendly tanneries. This in itself is a staggeringly large project. As much as any company would like to solve every production issue at once, they're often reduced to tackling one at a time. Since this is where Wolverine has been putting most of their energies of late, I expect this is the issue for which we'll be able to provide you with the best information. thanks, and have a peaceful new year, lc
Yeah. That wolvie he said made it's way down to Tahoe? Well, we're holing him hostage 'til Mr. C shows up in Reno. I kid! The next best thing to a visit is being able to watch Chasing the Phantom. If you're like me and bummed that the local PBS channel is only showing reruns in the middle of the night, then you'll appreciate this link to the video (kindly provided by Mr. Chadwick): http://video.pbs.org/video/1642358743/ Wolverines!!!
Oops! Almost forgot - if'n you're diggin' the soundtrack, a free download of the tune is right here: http://rcrdlbl.com/artists/Phantogram_/music
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2010 on Skiing Alpha's Ivory Shoulder at The Cleanest Line
Hmm. . . Every picture tells a story, don't it? Maybe the real reason you're growing that mullet has nothing to do with the new Camaro and everything to do with your karaoke addiction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSAGmcxPSRsp=29427FF2BE5C62E0&playnext=1&index=47
Toggle Commented Nov 16, 2010 on Picture Story: Shandar! at The Cleanest Line
Hi Tom, It sounds like you're having yourself a good ol' fashioned family camping trip - the way they're supposed to go! There's many a family from the PNW who could swap stories with you about bears, big water, long trails, rugged weather, and blissful isolation. Indeed it's one of the great blessings of America's wild places that so many can visit the places you've mentioned and continue to feel as if they're the first ones to ever set foot upon those precious pieces of earth. Alas, resources that might go to donations and sponsorships have been earmarked for another purpose; we donate dollars and goods to non-profit grassroots environmental organizations, as described in the Enviro Grants (http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2927) section of our website. These groups work to protect the environment and educate people in reducing our impact on the earth. By donating to these groups, we are helping to promote and protect the environment for everyone. On rare occasions, we help people who are pushing the envelope of a particular sport. For those types of requests to receive serious attention, we need to receive a sponsorship packet with supporting documentation (plans, timelines, environmental contributions, previous accomplishments, etc.). Full details can be found on our website: http://www.patagonia.com /us/patagonia.go?assetid=5174 Safe travels to you, and godspeed lc
We got it. Thanks, Noah!
Hi Larry, If you have the time, check out some of the earlier parts of this story, or maybe click on one of the links to the NWP website. This group has already been all over the stuff you've mentioned (EIS issues, habitat surveys, etc.). What they're up to now is more than a few steps ahead of that. You say it's a shame that they're "posing," but that too sounds like a comment that comes without having taken any time to learn about the group's work. NWP has protected over 2 million acres in the past 10 years, largely by seeking "alternatives to developing renewables on pristine lands." The shame, it seems, is casting judgments on a committed conservation group before getting to know the scope and depth of their work. lc
Thanks for the catch, Mark. We'll update that immediately. cheers, lc
Hi Alex, The issue isn't reuse of just any box, but of those emblazoned with the Priority Mail logo and colors. I don't think the melodrama and pictures of regular cardboard boxes in the post helped the issue of clarity - sorry about that. But as I understand it, the basic facts are still as stated above - the U.S. Postal service forbids re-use of boxes it provides for its Priority Mail service. As to the idea of simply turning them inside out . . . well, anyone who has used a fresh new Priority Mail box lately might have noticed that they now come printed with "Priority Mail" on the inside as well.
Hi Patrick, If you've got iTunes, and subscribe to the podcast, then it should download and save the show automatically for you. Then it'll be there in your music lineup until you delete it. happy holidays, lc
You're absolutely right, Cobey, thanks for raising this point. Currently, an equal comparison like the one you're proposing just isn't possible - but that doesn't change the fact that it's worth exploring. Our Footprint Chronicles are our public promise not to fall for any fallacies. We can only ask in return that you reserve judgment on those who are trying to do things a little more thoughtfully. Online catalogs might not work out to be a greener option today, but that doesn't mean they won't become one as more businesses adopt them. Every time we've made a decision that we believed was the right thing to do environmentally, we were labeled foolish or reckless or naive, right out of the gates. Our track record up to this point suggests the smart money would not have been on the naysayers. As our owner points out, there isn't a single thing we do as a business that could be called "sustainable," and it's likely there never will be. But that should never be a reason not to try, and not to keep at the business of trying better the way we do business. -lc
1554 in a can?! Maybe some Mighty Arrow, too? Please. Oh please . . .
Thanks for your kind words, Tudor. lc
Right now, it looks like Fall 2010 plans call for a full-zip hoody version as well as a jacket (w/o hood). A lot can happen in the next year, but at this point the signs are promising. lc
Hi Edgar, The post I referred graham to, and to which you take exception, is an honest account of our production limitations. I'm sorry to see you find that response "indicative of our attitude toward big people." The post in question is pretty well summarized by its closing paragraph, which reads: "We offer this explanation not to be dismissive but in the spirit of simplicity: We’ve been selling clothes for nearly 40 years, and during that time we’ve offered a wide range of size offerings cut to a variety of fit patterns. Time and again, we’ve attempted to offer smaller and larger sizes, only to end up with a great deal of unsold product. This unsold product—called DM—translates directly to wasted time, energy, and natural resources. As mentioned above, this creates a cascade of negative resource impacts." In case it's not clear, what that paragraph says is: we've made both smaller and larger sizes available many times in our history. Despite repeated attempts, the items have not sold enough to justify their continued production. I'm sorry this reads as discrimination to you, and certainly don't blame you for voting with your dollar. There are, of course, limitations to having a conversation via a blog. If you ever wish to learn more about any of our corporate decisions, or just need a real voice on the end of the line to hear your concerns, please give us a call at 800-638-6464 between 6 and 6 PST. -lc