Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Footprint Chronicles

The Way Upstream community has been vocal in its appreciation for the transparency that this blog provides with regard to gear for fishing. It has given the community a voice that didn't really exist before. Well Patagonia has taken things a few footsteps further by becoming the first major apparel manufacturer to track and expose the social and environmental impact of building specific products through The Footprint Chronicles, an interactive website that reveals to consumers the good and the bad involved in manufacturing outdoor clothing such as Synchilla fleece vests and rain shells. In a bold move that might make most companies nervous, Patagonia is determined to be candid and forthright about its impact on the environment and created the site to encourage dialog with its customers who are concerned about the environment.

"Our customers are scientists, activists, professors, doctors and more – they have the collective experience and knowledge we’re looking for," said Casey Sheahan (Patagonia CEO). "We’re highlighting exactly what happens in the manufacturing process and asking customers for their suggestions and help in efforts to find solutions to our less sustainable practices. It’s a unique dialogue to engage in – but one that will ultimately allow us to cause less harm to the planet."

According to Jill Dumain, Patagonia’s director of environmental programs, the research involved in developing the Chronicles has proved to actually drive major business decisions at Patagonia. The Chronicles revealed that transportation makes up only about 1 percent of our overall energy use,” said Dumain. “Had we listened to the current media buzz touting transportation as the largest factor in energy consumption, we might have greatly misplaced our efforts by making strides to geographically shorten our supply chain – which would have massively impacted our business financially, logistically and perhaps even effected product quality – and we would only have reduced our energy savings by 1 percent. Instead, we are focusing our energy on areas where we can truly make a difference – right in the heart of the manufacturing process."

The launch of The Footprint Chronicles puts into practice a prototype that hopes to inspire other companies to increase their transparency, and at the very least, raise awareness.

The Footprint Chronicles includes more than 35 filmed interviews and slideshows of factory workers, farmers, owners, designers and third-party auditors to provide an unprecedented level of transparency both internally and externally - from the factories and manufacturing partners that create its products, to the end of the product’s lifespan.

Press release excerpt by Jenn Rapp
Factory photo by Steve Swartzendruber
Footprint photo by Tim Borski


Anonymous said...

Having worked the retail side of the industry in years past, it always amazed me to talk to the reps and find out how many times some article of clothing had been around the world before it ended up here in Missoula. And while it seemed an extravagant waste of fuel to get a garment manufactured, it does take some serious research into what/where/how the real impacts are felt. Conventional wisdom often needs to be critically examined. Thanks to Patagonia for taking the lead on transparency of operations. Big Sky Taku

El Pescador said...

Here is a request/opportunity from our “Footprint Chronicles” team – please read on!

The Footprint Chronicles has been nominated for The 12th Annual Webby Awards in the Corporate Communications category.

Dubbed "the Oscars of the Internet" by Time Magazine, the Webby Awards are the most prestigious awards in the Internet industry. As one of only five nominees in its category, The Footprint Chronicles is eligible for the Internet industry's two most sought-after awards: The Webby Award and The Webby People's Voice Award.

While the Academy selects The Webby Award winners, the online public selects The People's Voice Award winners. Webby People's Voice voting started April 8th and ends May 1st.

If you like The Footprint Chronicles, please show your support by registering and voting using the link listed below (you can quickly find the Footprint Chronicles using the pull-down menu located at the top-right of the page).


On behalf of the entire Footprint Chronicles team, thank you!

adipose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adipose said...

I'm digging that variation on the Patagonia logo