Patagonia to Shoppers: Don’t Shop if You Don’t Need To
While most companies are dangling the carrot of ludicrous deals this week–one of, if not the, busiest shopping week of the year–outdoor clothing company Patagonia has another message: Don’t shop if you don’t need to. The company’s two year old “Common Threads Initiative” is trying to get people to think differently about when, how and why they buy.
The initiative has a sequence of suggestions and questions the potential shopper can run through:
- Reduce. Do I need this?
- Repair. Can I fix what I already have?
- Reuse. If I can’t repair the thing I want to replace, can it be sold to someone who wants it or used somewhere else like a charity?
- Recycle. Can the materials of my old thing be remade into something else?
- Reimagine. Can we change global consumer habits to create a sustainable planet?
Patagonia doesn’t just give good advice; they provide resources for how to carry out their plan. For “repair” there is an in-house repair service where you can send your torn clothes to, for “reuse” there is a link to the Patagonia eBay store and for “recycle” they provide an address to send your old Patagonia clothes so the materials can be used for new garments.
You can even take their pledge. The company pledges to “build useful things that last, to repair what breaks and recycle what comes to the end of its useful life” and you pledge to “buy only what I need (and will last), repair what breaks, reuse (share) what I no longer need and recycle everything else.”
We applaud this initiative. It’s very much in keeping with the LifeEdited ethos of “less but better.” And from what we know of Patagonia as a company, the initiative is more than just marketing jargon. It’s their way of conducting–and transforming–business.
What do you think? Is this an earnest effort to transform consumer habits or fancy marketing? This author, for one, feels much more inclined to buy Patagonia products…is that a bad thing? People do need stuff…why not make it the good stuff from people who care?
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