Physical Plant Social Aspects: Patagonia Production

Blog #7 Kirstie Hibbard.Patagonia employs several different procedures to ensure fair labor practices and safe working conditions in their factories. The foundation of Patagonia’s Social and Environmental Responsibility program is summarized in their Workplace Code of Conduct and their Benchmark document. The Code of Conduct is modeled after the International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards and requires agreement with the country laws where the factories are located. Their workplace Code of Conduct comprises of several policies addressing plethora of social conditions.  Patagonia undergoes a re-accreditation every three years by the Fair Labor Association.  Patagonia finds itself a member of the Fair Labor Association, Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC) and authorizes unannounced audits of their supply chain to keep them accountable to their self-set standards. The Supplier Workplace Code of Conduct is provided on their website and anything not detailed in that document is outlined in the Code of conduct Benchmarks document (also supplied on the website).

Patagonia’s Social/Environmental Responsibility (SER) department takes great care deciding the placement of new factories. Every Patagonia factory is listed and detailed on the website. The SER staff visits factories regularly, and the company discloses all of their information in adherence to the transparency in Supply Chains Act.

True to their word, Patagonia places a huge emphasis on ethical social procedures. While initially this could seem like a lot of extra hassle for the company, it has given Patagonia one of the most reputable names as a socially conscious company. Patagonia highly emphasizes their quality of production. From raw materials to final products, Patagonia employs several checkpoints, product tests, and critiques to ensure that they are producing the best product possible.  Patagonia’s quality control department employs an intricate assortment of specialists and interdepartmental procedures. The responsibility of the Product Quality Engineer is to make sure all products are in line with the Company’s “Ethos” as referenced by founder Chouinard and obviously to ensure all products that are distributed to stores meet all of the company quality standards. This individual is responsible for making sure that all company products are cautiously critiqued and improved throughout the different steps if the development process.  This individual regularly meets with the Quality Analyst and the entire quality control staff. In these meetings individuals explore issues such as products effectiveness and customer product satisfaction. The outcome of this analysis is incorporated into concrete revision tasks.   The Quality control department meets with the Development and Design department regularly to make sure that all revisions and standards are addressed.

It is appropriate that Point Loma’s Sustainability department has chosen to support Patagonia by purchasing their half zip sweatshirts. Although the prices are higher than the average half zip, the cost of production (such as labor) is being reflected in the final price. Although it appears that economically the department could spend money more wisely, they are upholding ethical social values, and buying a product that will last long beyond the competition. Deborah Jenkins, Sustainability office assistant, relates that her half zip has kept her warm for two years now and shows no signs of breakdown. She has not needed to buy a new department sweatshirt the past two fall semesters, displaying the value in purchasing well-made products.  But besides the obvious economic value in purchasing Patagonia products, Jenkins relates that she feels good about wearing her half zip, knowing that the individuals and resources that made that jacket are being treated justly.


Physical Plant Social Aspects: Patagonia Production

One thought on “Physical Plant Social Aspects: Patagonia Production

  1. Molly Guldin says:

    Wow I know Debbie wears that half zip all the time. She loves it. Seems very sturdy. I have really been considering getting one so that I don’t have to keep buying new jackets. Thanks guys!

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