Patagonia, shame on you

2013-12-14 Patagonia LogoLet me state up front: I like Patagonia products. I have lots of Patagonia items and have been doing business with them since the early 1980’s, when they were Chouinard Equipment. The gear is good, and Patagonia gets top dollar for it.

This may surprise you, but I am not going to talk about gear; I am going to talk about advertising.


If there is one thing that irks me, it is companies that advertise how green or ecologically responsible they are. To be honest, if a company is throwing “green” at me, I am inclined to purchase from another company.

Now I am not against companies that strive to reduce their impact on the environment, although if they manufacture goods they are probably damaging our world to some degree. If a company is working to minimize their impact on the environment, they should just be good citizens, don’t throw how green you are in our face. Don’t brag about it or use it to gain market share. As consumers, how do we really know if a company is truly working to be responsible in minimizing their impact?

I went to the Federal Trade Commission website to get guidance on what a Green Company is. Ha! That was a joke. The FTC Website is a government product – so just rely on your own judgement, not the Government.


I am not sure what that even means, but yes, it appears Patagonia is a better steward than most companies; at least their website and advertising says it is so. I have no reason to question whether or not what they say they do it true. But to be honest, I really don’t care that much. Their products are excellent, if they weren’t I wouldn’t buy them – no matter how “green” they say they are.


A couple years ago on Black Friday, Patagonia ran an ad asking customers to buy less of everything, including their own products. Patagonia also promoted their recycling program for old clothing. Wow!

2013-12-14 Patagonia Don't Buy This Jacket

I say bullshit. They knew the ad was going catch the eyes of consumers and would increase sales. Patagonia is a company bent on making a profit; they even say that is their purpose. Oh wow, Patagonia is so green, I am going to buy more… is the result from many consumers.

Here are some quotes from their ad:

“The environmental cost of everything we make is astonishing”

“Consider the R2 Jacket shown, one of our best sellers. To make it required 135 liters of water, enough to meet the daily needs (three glasses a day) of 45 people. Its journey from its origin as 60% recycled polyester to our Reno warehouse generated nearly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, 24 times the weight of the finished product. This jacket left behind, on its way to Reno, two-thirds its weight in waste.”

“And this is a 60% recycled polyester jacket, knit and sewn to a high standard; it is exceptionally durable, so you won’t have to replace it as often. And when it comes to the end of its useful life we’ll take it back to recycle into a product of equal value. But, as is true of all the things we can make and you can buy, this jacket comes with an environmental cost higher than its price.”

Another thing that Patagonia does is “improve” products. Most companies do this; you know, “New and Improved!” And Patagonia knows that existing customers will want the newest and greatest version and will flock to buy more, it is planned. So much for Patagonia wanting the public to consume less.

Maybe Patagonia should close their doors; they seem to feel guilty about all they do.


Somehow I got on Patagonia’s mailing list. Several times a year they send me a printed catalog. Paper catalogs normally don’t bother me much. But Patagonia’s do. They are green, remember?

patagonia catalogs-1

Now I am not holding them to a higher standard, but as the self-proclaimed green company, they should. Printing on paper (some maybe recycled); loading up trucks and postal vehicles to burn unnecessary fuel is a waste of resources and energy for a green company, isn’t it?

I haven’t found any instructions in the catalogs on how to cancel them, but haven’t looked that closely.

I will continue to buy Patagonia products when I need something they sell, if it is the best on the market.

But come ‘on people at Patagonia – walk your talk — or quit advertising how responsible you are. We will buy your products anyway.

      Related Content