VENTURA, Calif. (June, 2011) — Patagonia Inc., has launched Our Common Waters, a two-year environmental campaign focused on the necessity to balance human water needs with those of the rest of the world. The campaign aims to inspire customer’s personal water conservation efforts, while highlighting the company’s practices around water use and creating a link between freshwater threats and loss of biodiversity. Patagonia has concurrently implemented a protocol to measure water used in the production of its apparel, footwear and other products.
“An essential part of this campaign is Patagonia’s story as a company including the water-cost of doing business, efforts to reduce our water footprint and how we report on water use,” commented Casey Sheahan, Patagonia’s president and CEO, “At Patagonia, we’re only beginning to learn how much water we consume or how much water is used in our name.”
Patagonia’s new water footprint protocol was developed with help from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. The protocol helps the company to select materials that use less water and examines “water stress” in production regions, allowing the company to make better production decisions in areas where water may be in short supply or in abundance. Patagonia will combine this new protocol with the Outdoor Industry Association’s Eco Index to make wiser product and production decisions. Many businesses have begun focusing on water consumption and Patagonia expects a product’s water footprint to become as important as its carbon footprint in the near future.
The campaign launched in February 2011 with emails to over 300,000 customers and information on the company’s website: http://www.patagonia.com/enviro Additionally, in fiscal year 2011, Patagonia’s cumulative cash and in-kind donations to grassroots environmental groups and company projects totaled over $4,200,000. The company’s employees also volunteered 3,900+ hours of time to assist with Gulf Oil Spill cleanup efforts. As Patagonia turns its environmental efforts to freshwater use and preservation, the Our Common Waters campaign will highlight key subjects such as water stress (the end of water), broken rivers (dams) and pollution of freshwater sources while providing action-oriented steps for customers to take.
“With less than 1% of the earth’s water available for our use, we need to better understand and respect fresh water as a precious resource to be conserved,” noted Lisa Pike Sheehy, Patagonia’s director of environmental initiatives, “There is a global freshwater crisis and public awareness hasn’t reached a critical level to confront it. We are all guilty of not knowing enough about this issue and Our Common Waters is an opportunity to educate ourselves and our customers on the topic and how best to take action.”
Patagonia, with sales last year of over $414M, is noted internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism. Incorporating environmental responsibility in to product development, the company has, since 1996, used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line. In July 2011 Patagonia will begin to take back any worn-out Patagonia product to be repurposed or recycled, forever capturing the raw materials used in making virgin fiber. The company’s goal is to ensure Patagonia products are landfill-free. The company also advocates corporate transparency through its interactive website, The Footprint Chronicles, which transparently outlines the environmental and social footprint of individual products. Patagonia was featured as The Coolest Company on the Planet on Fortune Magazine’s April 2007 cover.
Jen Rapp, Patagonia, 805.667.4768, [email protected]