“Don’t Buy Our Jacket”

By definition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Commercialization is “to use (something) as an opportunity to earn money”.  Other definitions state that commercialization is the process in which a new product is introduced into the market.  The launch of the product, the advertising, sales promotion, and any other marketing strategies are all a part of commercialization.  Commercialization is a standard business practice that is used in order to promote a companies products with the goal of maximizing products.  Consumption is defined as the “using up of a resource”.  The goal of commercialization is to convince potential buyers to consume the companies product. Consumption is often viewed as food being eaten, but in the sense of material goods, consumption as far as the company is concerned is based on sales.  As long as a company continues to sell their product, there are buyers “consuming” their product.  It is typical of companies to commercialize their products in a way that influences people to continuously consume their products, but Patagonia has taken a unique strategy of commercialization.  This campaign is known as their “Common Thread” campaign.

Marketing campaigns are not always focused on a single particular product.  Sometimes it the marketing campaigns are not even particularly focused on a particular line of products.  Often times, marketing campaigns are designed to promote the entirety of a particular company.  This is the type of campaign that Patagonia began in late 2013 with their “Common Thread” campaign.  The “Common Thread” campaign included ads in the New York Times with big black letters above their products saying “DON’T BUY THIS JACKET”, a short length video tracing the history of individual products and the stories that came with them, and promoting the: reduction of goods bought, the repair of “broken” gear already purchased, the reuse of unused gear, and the recycling of worn out gear to avoid additional growth to landfills.  When Patagonia launched this campaign on Black Friday, the opening day of the all important holiday shopping season, they were they only retailer who asked consumers to rethink what they bought, and to consider buying less.  As an environmentally aware company, Patagonia recognizes the footprint left behind by the production of every product (including their organic ones).  Instead of persuading their customers to purchase more of what they don’t need, they took a different stance in an attempt to take care of the environment but also to convince consumers that Patagonia products (while pricy) are superior to alternatives.  This campaign suggested that Patagonia produces products that are designed to “last and be useful”.  The company asks that their customers buy only what they need.  This stance in a consume happy society has earned Patagonia the loyalty and trust of it’s existing customers, and through this unique campaign also caught the attention of new customers.

Patagonia makes every effort as a company to make the process in which they create the product you’re about to purchase available for you to see.  On their website they have a feature called “The Footprint Chronicles” that allows consumers to view where each product comes from.  They even go into depth explaining why they encourage to “Don’t Buy This Jacket”.  This particular campaign was aimed at giving consumers confidence in the quality of their product which is typically more expensive than their competitors.  It is hard to measure the economic impact of this particular campaign, but it is safe to say that Patagonia gathered a lot of attention and respect as a result of their unique marketing strategy while maintaining their values of taking care of the environment.

 

-Taylor Langstaff

 

Sources: http://www.thecleanestline.com/2011/11/dont-buy-this-jacket-black-friday-and-the-new-york-times.html

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681023/how-patagonia-makes-more-money-by-trying-to-make-less

http://www.steiner.com/

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Economic Benefits of Sustainable Production

Production is the combination of many different raw materials that have been altered in one way or another to create a final product.  Often times, the raw materials used in the production of a product are from many different places in the world.  One of the hardest aspects of tracing the footprint of a product is the many different raw materials that are utilized to create any given product.  The product that was purchased by the Point Loma Nazarene University “Spiritual Life” department was a Patagonia jacket.  While the particular product was not specified by those that were contacted form “spiritual life”, it is likely that cotton was used in the production of the jacket.  Since cotton is a primary material typically used in clothing and most jackets, the production of and process in which the cotton is grown for Patagonia became the focus of the production aspect for this project.  Instead of attempting to track all of the materials that could have possibly been used for any and/or all of the Patagonia jackets, cotton was selected as the most reasonable raw material to track.

While not all of the cotton that Patagonia uses is from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, the company and this particular cooperative do have a long lasting relationship.  The cotton farmers of the high plains of Texas, became frustrated around 1993.  The chemicals that were poured on their crops as pesticides and herbicides were not performing as they had been promised.  Poor results from the use of the se chemicals led a handful of farmers to rethink the effects of these chemicals, and reevaluate what was not only environmentally positive but also economically strategic.  Farmers met and some of them who were serious about making change began the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative,  (TOCMC) who Patagonia has been working with since the mid 1990s.  THese farmers decided that they would revert back to the old farming techniques and focus on taking care of the land so that it could continue to produce cotton for them in years to come.  They figured that avoiding the intense usage of chemicals would be good for the soil, and would allow them to produce cotton for many years.  The environment in the high plains of Texas are ideal for organic cotton farming.  There is low insect pressure and  there is just enough rain to dryland farm a solid amount of the cotton.  The combination of an ideal environment and the movement of the TOCMC has made the high plains of Texas the majority producer of organic cotton in the United States with the production of at least 95% of American Organic Cotton.

This cotton does not come without a cost however.  Organic cotton above all else is much more labor intensive than conventionally farmed cotton.  On a 3500 acre farm that would typically only require one full time employee for conventional farming, would require at least 4 for organic farming.  This does not however make organic farming less economic.  Instead of pouring money into the technology of the chemicals and giving money to these large corporations, organic farming pays the local workers.  These field workers then spend their money in the community and support one another.   While the cost in labor increases, the personal aspect, and growth of the community for a superior raw material is well worth it.   The organic cotton that is used in the production of Patagonia’s jackets will allow farmers to keep their cotton farms soil healthy for many years, while their employees pour into the community and continue to support one another.

– Taylor Langstaff

 

Source: http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=84716

 

Economic Benefits of Sustainable Production

Economic Strategy of Patagonia’s Transportation and Distribution

Transportation/Distribution The bottom line for any business is to increase profits.  Without the goal of making money, a business will fail and no longer exist.  A simple practice that many companies often use to maintain efficient business is to periodically evaluate the process in which they operate.  In 2011, Patagonia re-evaluated the way their transportation network was set up, and it has proved to be quite profitable. Patagonia had their distribution tracked and evaluated.  Over 60% of their products are manufactured in Asia.  To get them to their warehouse, the products (i.e. the jacket which was purchased by Point Loma Nazarene University Spiritual life) was (up until 2011) shipped to the Port of Los Angeles/ Long Beach harbor.  Shipments would come in from Shanghai, Manila, Haiphong and other Asian cities where Patagonia products are made.  From the Port of Los Angeles, product must be transferred to their distribution center.  When Patagonia began, this was in Ventura at the headquarters.  In 1996 the distribution center was relocated to Reno, NV as the company grew.  Reno is 523 miles away from the Port of Los Angeles.  The re-evaluation of this transport determined that this distance caused unnecessary costs.  Shipping via truck has higher fuel costs than those of boats.  There are also regulations that require truck drivers to rest for 10 hours after 11 hours of driving.  This regulation can potentially cause delayed deliveries.  There are also potential mechanic breakdowns, weather conflicts, and other unexpected interferences that can occur during long distance shipping via truck. There were reasons for Patagonia keeping their port in Los Angeles, such as: grown relations over many years, reasonable costs, convenience of “vessel sail times”, flexibility of three separate trucking routes in the case of weather or other unpredictable interferences, among other things.  As a part of their 2011 evaluation, Patagonia had their freight forwarder company “Expeditors” analyze the transportation route.  As a result, Expeditors suggested that Patagonia move their receiving port up to the Port of Oakland.  While this move allows trucks only one route from Oakland to Reno, the greater proximity has proven to substantially improve other costs.  Fuel and maintenance costs have greatly decreased, and drivers are capable of making the 229 mile drive well within ten hours.  This allows drivers to avoid lengthy truckstop layovers, and provides for more timely and predictable delivery. There are so many different aspects that go into the whole of a company.  It is easy for companies to continue with operations that have been a part of the company for many years.  While many companies overlook the foundation of their routine, re-evaluating all processes can prove to be very profitable.  Ten months after Patagonia shifted their receiving port to Oakland, they saved an estimated $324,000.  As a company that is also environmentally conscious, the move also reduced their carbon footprint by 31%.  For such a simple adjustment to the company, Patagonia has been pleased with the resulting economical and environmental improvements in their decision to move receiving ports.

-Taylor Langstaff

Source: http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=79365

Economic Strategy of Patagonia’s Transportation and Distribution

Patagonia’s Approach to Production

Patagonia

 

Production (social)

Patagonia sells everything from wetsuits, to rock climbing gear, and everything in between. I used to work in a surf shop called Sun Deigo (unfortunately) and we carried an extensive line of Patagonia’s merchandise, including both men and women’s t-shirts, jackets, pants and accessories. For a company that sells so much different inventory, is is importanrt to ask where it all gets made, and how it affects the people who produce it.

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The company endorses on its website that it “promotes fair labor practices, and safe working conditions throughout the entire supply chain.”

 

This photo depicts factory workers in what appears to be the assembly stage of the supply chain. There is a great deal of information supplied about the factories that Patagonia chooses to work with on their website. Look here : http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=67583

 

They also show various other parts of the supply chain that they work with to reduce emissions, eliminate child labor, and reduce other harmful costs of doing business as much as possible.

 

For example, Patagonia makes sure to force their suppliers to take a sourcing questionnaire, and map their own smaller supply chains. “For every one of our fabrics or trims, we require a profile sheet, a supply chain tracking sheet and all relevant third-party certificates.”

 

Following is a copy of the certification requirements for organic cotton products.

 

Certification requirements for organic Cotton Products

Since 1996, all of the cotton fabrics used in our products have been made from 100% organic cotton fiber. We request the following verifying certificates to support our claims.

For sourcing and pre-production:

Obtain a scope certificate stating that the spinning facility can process organic cotton (required)

Obtain a scope certificate stating that the knitting or weaving facility can process organic cotton (optional)

Communicate that the cotton must be certified organic to the National Organic Program (NOP) standard by a USDA- accredited third party

For production:

Obtain farm certificates stating that the farms that supplied the cotton are certified to the NOP standard (required)

Obtain transaction certificates for the fiber used in each product shipment, stating that the fiber meets the NOP standard, and issued by a USDA-accredited certifying body (required)

Notes:

NOP = National Organic Program of the USDA

USDA = United States Department of Agriculture

Farm certificate = a certificate issued for an agricultural farm

Scope certificate = a certificate issued for a processing facility

Transaction certificate = a certificate issued for a purchasing Transaction

All certificates should be issued from accredited certification Bodies

All certificates should be valid at the time of submission

Keep an updated scope certificate stating that the spinning facility can process organic cotton (required)

Keep an updated scope certificate stating that the knitting or weaving facility can process organic cotton (optional)

Obtain yarn certificates stating that the yarns meet organic standards or contain organic cotton (optional)

Obtain fabric certificates stating that the finished fabrics meet organic standards or contain organic cotton (optional)

Obtain product certificates stating that the finished products meet organic standards or contain organic cotton (optional)

page 1 ©2012 Patagonia, Inc

 

-Dave

Patagonia’s Approach to Production

Patagonia’s Approach to commercialization and consumption

Patagonia

patagonia-logo

 

Commercialization / Consumption (Social)

One of Patagonia’s biggest selling points for their clothes is that they are made of durable, versatile material. From the first stages of production, the cotton they use for all their inner-ware, jacket linings, and t-shirts goes through a long process of refinement to make sure it wont break or wear through quickly. This long lasting product keeps customers happy, and also means less wasted products, which in turn means less wasted labor, CO2 emissions, transportation costs, and consumption habits.

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The social/commercial aspect of the company is close to that of REI’s, and can be seen right when a viewer visits their website. They promote outdoor activity. Patagonia makes : snow-shells for skiers/snowboarders, wetsuits for surfers, river crampons and aluminum bar wading boots, water resistant down parkas, alpine shells, waders for fishermen, trail running gear, footwear, waterproof backpacks, etc. The list goes on. Whatever an outdoor enthusiast might want, Patagonia will sell them.

They like to call the sports they support “silent.” “None requires a motor, none delivers the cheers of a crowd. In each sport, reward comes in the form hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature.” And the company has grown steadily since their launch in 1972 growing from a small company that made custom tools for climbers into a huge corporation with suppliers from all over the world. To me, that says their products are in high demand.

BrndM_032612Patagonia

In a culture where consumption habits run rampant, it is comforting to see a major supplier take the environment, and fair trade practices into consideration as it continues to sell to more and more people. Every company should practice the same commitment to transparency and beneficial trade habits.

-Dave

 

Patagonia’s Approach to commercialization and consumption

Patagonia’s Distribution, Trade and Transport

Patagonia

 

Distribution/Trade/Transport (Social)

 

“Yet the depth and breadth of technological innovation of the past few decades shows that we have not lost our most useful gifts; humans are ingenious, adaptive, clever. We also have moral capacity, compassion for life, and an appetite for justice. We now need to more fully engage these gifts to make economic life more socially just and environmentally responsible, and less destructive to nature and the commons that sustain us.”

Taken from Patagonia’s website:

http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2329

 

CO2 emissions are 4-7 times less when cargo is shipped by boat instead of by car, or certainly by plain.

 

This is one of the reasons why Patagonia took a deeper look into their transportation network, and changed their destination port in 2011. Changing from the port of Los Angeles to the Port of Oakland. Their website has this to say about the change

 

“Expeditors® recently analyzed the results of our port change for the most recent 10-month period. (At the time, we didn’t have a full year’s worth of data.) They found we had saved $324,000 mostly in transloading and transportation costs and reduced our carbon footprint by 135,000 kilos or 31%. In addition, we no longer have to co-mingle loads, and drivers can make the 229-mile trip to Reno in well under 10 hours.”

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-Dave

Patagonia’s Distribution, Trade and Transport

Alternative Apparel’s Approach to Production

Alternative Apparel

alternative-apparel

Production (social)

Alternative Apparel is a clothing company committed to “comfort, simplicity, and a commitment to sustainability.” The company is based out of Los Angeles California, where there marketing headquarters and flagship stores are.

A flagship store is a retailor’s main location- or more specifically, the place where they sell the most goods.

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However, Alt. Apparel’s corporate headquarters are located in Georgia.

To talk more specifically about AA’s production, we need to look at what country, said production takes place in. In Alternative’s case, it happens to be Peru. According to the company’s website, the country was chosen due to the availability of “pima cotton” which is said to have originated in the country over 5,000 years ago, and is ideal for t-shirt and other clothing material because of how soft it is. The following was also quoted from their website video:

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“Alternative is increasing its line of certified organic and fair trade cotton, staying true to our commitment to sustainability. As a consumer we have a choice to impact many lives, consider where your garment comes from.”

The videos on the website are meant to evoke emotion; a warm feeling passes through us as we watch local Peruvian cotton farmers smile as they work. And from all the sustainable action Alternative claims to take- they have every reason to.

-Dave Nicklas

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