Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Patagonia: “Don’t buy our stuff” … say, what?

January 14, 2013

Punch line: Cloaked in green, Patagonia’s proposition — that you not buy its clothes — is resulting in some of its best sales ever.

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Excerpted from Fast Company’s, “How Patagonia Makes More Money By Trying To Make Less”


Instead of blasting sales prices and urging consumers to load up their virtual shopping carts, Patagonia encourages consumers to buy less.


“These jeans are made of garbage” … and, that’s a good thing.

October 25, 2012

Punch line: Levi’s, eager to reduce its reliance on water-intensive cotton, has already used 3.5 million plastic bottles in its new Waste​<​Less jeans.

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Excerpted from Bloomberg Businessweek’s, “Levi’s Goes Green With Waste​<​Less Jeans”


Most apparel companies work hard to give their clothes the sheen of sophistication or whimsy. Levi Strauss is trying hard not to.

When its latest line of jeans arrives in stores early next year, the pitch will be: “These jeans are made of garbage.” Crushed brown and green plastic bottles will be on display nearby.

In 2007, Levi’s was among the first in the apparel industry to conduct a life-cycle assessment of some of its major products.

After measuring environmental impacts … Levi’s found that 49 percent of the water use during the lifetime of a pair of 501 jeans occurred at the very beginning, with cotton farmers.

It turned out that the manufacturing process, where Levi’s can exert the most control, had the least impact on water and energy use.

So Levi’s joined the Better Cotton Initiative … to teach farmers how to grow cotton with less water.

The first of the cotton was harvested last year, and Levi’s blended its share into more than 5 million pairs of jeans.

“Is turning eight bottles of plastic into a pair of jeans worth it? I think so,” says James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand.

Curleigh … argues that any reduction in Levi’s cotton use, however small, is worth it: “Cotton is the single most volatile commodity in the apparel industry. Never mind sustainability for a minute. If I could come up with a way to put 20 percent of something else that is cost-neutral and has a reliable source, I would probably take it anyway.”

Edit by JDC

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Check the weather or stock quotes as you recycle … say, what?

February 9, 2012

Punch line: New smart recycling bins provide consumers with added benefits – LCD display, Wi-Fi connectivity, weather forecasts, and even stock prices. These smart bins are being rolled out in London, NY, Singapore, and Tokyo.

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Excerpted from, “London’s New Smart Recycling Bins Come With LCD Displays & Wi-Fi


In preparation for the 2012 Olympics, London will introduce 25 high-tech ‘smart bins’ placed around the city.

These recycling bins will be embedded with an LCD display on each side and come integrated with Wi-Fi connectivity.

The screens will constantly change to display different information, ranging from weather forecasts to stock prices.

In addition, these high-tech bins are also bomb-proof.

At $1,880 each, they aren’t cheap compared to traditional outdoor recycling bins that are usually between $200-500.

The smart bins won’t only be seen in London, but are also expected to be implemented in other metropolitan cities including New York, Singapore and Tokyo.

Edit by KJM

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Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy Me, but really buy me” campaign

January 5, 2012

Punch line: This holiday season Patagonia went on a limb and launched a “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign – including a full page ad in the NY Times – to address our culture’s love of consumption and the impact in has on the ecosystem. Do you buy it?

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Excerpted from, “Are You Buying Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” Campaign?

Patagonia raised eyebrows with its Black Friday/Cyber Monday message this year — “Don’t Buy This Jacket” — including taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times.


It’s all part of the brand’s Common Threads initiative, which promotes sustainability and avoiding waste.

The message: “Cyber Monday, and the culture of consumption it reflects, puts the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. We’re now using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet.”

…”It’s time for us as a company to address the issue of consumerism and do it head on. The most challenging, and important, element of the Common Threads Initiative is this: to lighten our environmental footprint, everyone needs to consume less. Businesses need to make fewer things but of higher quality. Customers need to think twice before they buy.”

Edit by KJM.

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Ronald sighs relief as spotlight shifts to Girl Scout cookies …

May 25, 2011

Punch line: Orangutans and Thin Mints don’t mix

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Girl Scouts have been selling cookies since 1917.

Last year, troops sold 198 million boxes of cookies. 

That’s  $714 million worth of cookies, most of which goes to the nonprofit councils under which troops are organized.

But now the “franchise” is under pressure.

Scouts and leaders have criticized their nonprofit organization … and some do not want to sell cookies next year.


Until 2006, the cookies contained partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, but the scouts switched to palm oil so the cookies would be free of trans fat.

Today, all 16 varieties of GS cookies contain palm oil.

Some rain forests have been cleared for palm oil plantations.

Some endangered orangutans live in rain forests.

There’s the rub.

The Girl Scouts organization says its bakers have told them there isn’t a good alternative to palm oil that would ensure the same taste, texture and shelf life.

The choice: save orangutans or save Thin Mints, Trefoils and Samoas?

Source: WSJ