Patagonia, the retailer of outdoors products, is serious about environmental issues. The company recently announced the launch of its "The Responsible Economy" campaign, which is focused on promoting business and consumption behaviors that positively address environmental issues.
"Patagonia's mission is to 'inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,'" said Rick Ridgeway, vice president of environmental affairs for the chain, in a statement. "There are two vital concepts in that statement: we implement our own solutions and we inspire others to follow our lead."
The Responsible Economy, according to Patagonia, "challenges the assumption that an economy based on growth and increased consumption is tantamount to prosperity."
In an essay on patagonia.com, Mr. Chouinard summed it up, "I think the simple life really begins with owning less stuff."
Political action is expected to develop through the new program, jointly run with Ifixit.com, which repairs used clothes. Patagonia outlets will sell clothes bought back from customers. When they eventually do reach the end of their natural lives, clothes are taken back for "recycling or repurposing."
Customers, other companies, governments and non-governmental entities will be encouraged to participate in a "worldwide discussion," founder Yvon Chouinard explained, according to wwd.com.
In a company statement, Patagonia cautioned that humans use the earth's resources at a rate nearly one and a half times faster than nature can replace essential "services" such as clean water, air, arable land and healthy fisheries.
"If the population climbs from seven to nine billion people by 2050 and, even more importantly, our growing and increasingly global high-consumption economy continues to draw down our natural resources, we will exceed the planet's capacity by 300 to 500 percent, putting us into ecological bankruptcy," noted Vincent Stanley, co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company.
Patagonia's new campaign was inspired by a strong response to its provocative "Don't Buy This Jacket" full-page ad in The New York Times on Black Friday, 2011, when it asked customers to think twice about whether they needed a new jacket. The company also recently ran its "Better Than New" ad in the same paper celebrating the re-sale of Patagonia clothing.
How effective do you think Patagonia's "Responsible Economy" will be in affecting consumer purchasing behavior?