Patagonia Asks Customers to Reduce Consumption & Trade Used Gear

Patagonia, a long-time pioneer in sustainable business practices, is going where few businesses dare to go – it’s asking customers to reduce unnecessary consumption of its own products.

"The Common Threads Initiative addresses a significant part of today’s environmental problem – the footprint of our stuff," notes Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder and owner. "This program first asks customers to not buy something if they don’t need it. If they do need it, we ask that they buy what will last a long time – and to repair what breaks, reuse or resell whatever they don’t wear any more. And, finally, recycle whatever’s truly worn out."

Patagonia, in turn, commits to make products that last, quickly repair anything that breaks, and recycle the company’s entire product line.

To help customers put used clothes back in circulation, Patagonia and eBay are launching a marketplace for customers to buy and sell used Patagonia gear.

The campaign flies in the face of conventional retail and economic theory that stresses the importance of ever-increasing growth.

Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative store on eBay establishes a new model for consumption: It marks the first time a major retail brand actively encourages its customers to buy and sell its used products, and it is eBay’s first multi-seller branded store.

Customers who will be able to list their used Patagonia products on eBay if they become a partner and take the Common Threads Initiative pledge.

Patagonia will not receive any of the profits associated with the Common Threads Initiative storefront.

In 2010, eBay launched The eBay Box, which encourages buyers and sellers to reuse packaging. It also launched eBay Instant Sale, which encourages customers to sell and/or recycle their used electronics.

The Common Threads initiative is a perfect fit for eBay’s sustainability slogan: "the greenest product is one that already exists."

Patagonis hopes it will create a new model for sustainable commerce within the apparel industry – one that emphasizes product, reuse, and tapping the full useful life of clothing.

Patagonia was one of the first companies to advocate for corporate transparency through its interactive website, The Footprint Chronicles, which details the environmental and social footprint of each product.

Last week, Japanese clothing company UNIQLO announced it would bring its All-Products Recycling program to stores in the US, UK and France.

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