Is the Natural Environment a Stakeholder?

Patagonia is a certified B Corporation and is “legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment” (BCorporation).  

In an industry dominated by fast fashion and environmentally harmful trends, Patagonia easily differentiates itself by creating a truly sustainable business practice. This company produces high quality and durable clothing that not only lasts but can easily be repaired. The founder of the company, Yvon Chouinard, encourages consumers to repair their clothes rather than purchase new items. This initiative alone proves that Patagonia values sustainability more than generating revenue. Additionally, all Patagonia products are made from natural or recycled materials that can be recycled continuously, in the case that an old item is damaged beyond repair. reported that ‘Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags’, an American company advertising their products as completely compostable, directly deceived customers because no composting facilities accepted the bags in the United States. Customers simply could not compost the “compostable” bags that they purchased. This extreme example of greenwashing is reflective of the marketing desire to increase sales by creating an eco-friendly narrative, even if this narrative is completely false. Thankfully, greenwashing is illegal, and companies accused of the crime are being forced to adjust their marketing strategies and rebrand their deceptive products.  

I think the greenwashing/true sustainability debate will become incredibly prevalent within the clothing industry in the near future. Because fast fashion is responsible for producing approximately 10% of all major pollutants contributing to climate change, consumers are finally beginning to see a need to adjust their values and buy from brands that are truly sustainable. The recent thrifting and antiquing trends within the fashion industry are encouraging the practice of up-cycling which is incredibly beneficial to the environment.