Patagonia: Sustainable Outdoor Clothing & Gear

The sustainable brand Patagonia produces outdoor clothing and gear for climbing, surfing, skiing, fly fishing, and trail running.

Patagonia Sustainable Clothing and Outdoor Gear

About Patagonia:

Patagonia is a clothing and gear brand with a purpose to save our home planet. The company has been in business for over 50 years. In this time, Patagonia hasn’t only produced products for outdoor adventures but has made strides to use the business as a force for good.

Explore more sustainable brands and businesses in the directory


Patagonia’s Modern Slavery Statement outlines that the company “prohibits child labor, forced labor and human trafficking in all of its forms” in its supply chain. The company’s code of conduct to combat these issues in the fashion industry was implemented in the mid-1990s. This was expanded to the company’s Tier 2 suppliers in 2011. In 2014, Patagonia introduced its Migrant Worker Employment Standards to protect migrant workers throughout their employment. In 2020, these standards were revised “to ensure they continued to include international best practices and recommended guidance from workers’ rights groups, including the Fair Labor Association and the UN’s International Labor Organization.”

Today, over 85% of Patagonia’s products are made in a Fair Trade Certified factory, impacting more than 75,000 workers, and over 2,000 farmers are part of the company’s Regenerative Organic Certified Cotton program.

Patagonia transparently shares information about its facilities and suppliers to help customers know where and how their clothes are made. For more on Patagonia’s production and supply chain, visit the company’s social responsibility page here.

Materials Used

Patagonia uses a variety of materials throughout its product range. These include:

  • Cotton, including recycled, organic (the company began exclusively using 100% organic virgin cotton in all of its cotton products in 1996), ‘cotton in conversion’ (this allows farms growing cotton with organic practices to sell their crop while they are in the process of getting certified), and Regenerative Organic Certified® Cotton (which prioritizes organic, no- and low-till methods that build healthy soil and respect the welfare of people and animals). Read more about Patagonia’s cotton here.
  • Virgin materials, including cotton (100% is grown organically), down (100% is traceable from farm to final fiber processing facility, and certified responsibly sourced), natural rubber for their wetsuits, and hemp.

In Patagonia’s Spring 2024 collection, 98% of the styles use recycled materials. Switching to recycled has allowed Patagonia “to avoid 8,500 metric tons of CO2e, enough to power more than 1,070 homes for one year in the United States”. For more details on Patagonia’s materials, programs, and processes, visit their environmental responsibility page here.

Sustainability Efforts:

Patagonia has detailed environmental policies to ensure the company takes responsibility for its impact. It uses environmentally friendly materials, supports environmentally responsible farming, backs initiatives that combat the environmental crisis and is actively reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Patagonia’s shipping and packaging materials are either made with FSC-certified or SFI-certified recycled content or post-consumer waste.

Sustainable Credentials

Patagonia is a certified B Corporation. The company has been certified since 2011 and was the first Californian company to sign up for B certification.

In 2002, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, and owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, Craig Mathews, created 1% for the Planet. Patagonia is a member and has been contributing 1% of its sales to the planet since 1985.

The company is also a founding and accredited member of the Fair Labor Association® (FLA) and over 85% of the company’s products are Fair Trade Certified.

Repair Program

Patagonia has its own repair program. The company states that “if you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, return it to the store you bought it from or to Patagonia for a repair, replacement or refund.” The company also repairs damaged clothing due to wear and tear at a reasonable price.

Recycling Program

Worn Wear is Patagonia’s hub where the company sells clean and functional used gear and clothing. Patagonia also has this program in select stores, offers trade-in credit for Patagonia items and, through this program, recycles garments that can no longer be used.

How does it work?

Visit the Worn Wear website here to trade in Patagonia items. You can mail your items in or visit a Patagonia retail store. You’ll then receive a credit for your items if they are in good condition.

Sustainable Milestones

Patagonia has achieved several sustainable milestones in its 50 years. Here are a few of the eco-friendly steps the company has made:

  • In 1996, Patagonia committed to “exclusively use 100% virgin cotton grown with organic practices that eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and GMO seeds” in its products.
  • In 2007, Patagonia became the first brand to join the network of bluesign system partners. This company works at each step in Patagonia’s textile supply chain to assess and approve chemicals, processes, materials, and products, to ensure they are safe for the environment, workers, and customers.
  • In 2016, Patagonia was the first surf company to go neoprene-free. Instead, it switched to natural rubber (Yulex®), which is now the base polymer for all of its wetsuits, gloves, booties, and hoods. Patagonia’s natural rubber is “Forest Stewardship Council certified by Preferred by Nature, ensuring that it doesn’t come from newly clear-cut rainforest, like some of the world’s supply”.
  • In 2018, Patagonia made changes to its company structure. The company is now owned by the Patagonia Purpose Trust (which holds 100% of the company’s voting stock), and the Holdfast Collective (which holds 100% of the company’s nonvoting stock).

    The Patagonia Purpose Trust was created to ensure the company’s commitment to its purpose forever. The Holdfast Collective is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.

    Each year, the money Patagonia makes after reinvesting in the business is distributed as a dividend to help fight the environmental crisis, protect nature and biodiversity, and support thriving communities.
  • Since 2021, Patagonia has kept 1,419 tonnes of plastic waste out of the ocean by turning discarded fishing nets into gear.
  • From May 2022-23, Patagonia repaired 83,794 garments at its Reno, Nevada repair center.
  • In Patagonia’s Spring 2024 line, 96% of the water-repellent materials are made without PFAS/PFCs and 98% of the styles use recycled materials
  • Worldwide to date, Patagonia has “funded over 600 kilowatts of solar panels cantilevered over farmland, which allows the cultivation of sun and crops”.

Currently Working Toward

Patagonia recognizes that while the company is doing its best to address the environmental crisis, more can always be done. Here are a few projects the company is working on:

  • It’s taking steps to keep packaging low impact by reducing unnecessary labeling, eliminating polybags from its products globally, and continuing to research non-plastic materials to help eliminate polybags alltogether.
  • Patagonia aims to only use organic and Regenerative Organic cotton, recycled polyester, and recycled nylon, among other “preferred materials” by 2025. This is to continue limiting the company’s dependence on raw materials.
  • The company is continuing to work to find a permanent solution to ensure all workers earn a living wage, not just a fair wage.
  • Patagonia aims to launch more ‘Cotton in Conversion’ and ‘Regenerative Organic Certified’ apparel as the program progresses. The company states, “It’s not just about doing less harm, but doing some good through the process, too.”
  • The company aims to switch to 100% renewable electricity in its global owned-and-operated facilities by the end of 2025.
  • By 2030 Patagonia aims to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 80% and reduce its Scope 3 GHG emissions “from purchased goods and services, upstream transportation and distribution, business travel and downstream transportation and distribution” by 55%. By 2040, Patagonia aims to reduce its Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 90% and reach Net-Zero GHG emissions across the value chain.

Social Justice & Advocacy

Patagonia supports grassroots activism. The company’s founder also co-founded 1% for the Planet and has pledged 1% of its sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment since 1985. Patagonia has also developed an online resource, Patagonia Action Works, to connect individuals with environmental action groups in their communities.

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