Sustainability and Social Responsibility: Home and Lifestyle Brands

Goals

To understand the sustainability and social responsibility efforts and commitments of home and lifestyle companies, including Patagonia, Ikea, The Citizenry, and West elm. The information will say whether the companies demonstrate their sustainability and impact model to their customer in a clear and digestible manner, if they have an icon system on the product page and which icons they have on their site, how they articulate their social/environmental values overall, and if they have specific metrics or goals laid out.

Early Findings

Patagonia: Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Overview

  • According to CSR Hub, Patagonia has a CSR rating of 100% compared with 18,051 companies. The rating by CSR Hub is propelled by 724 industry-leading CSR/ESG data sources, including ESG analyst, crowd, government, publication, & and not-for-profit data.
  • The company is "widely known as an outdoor and adventure-wear brand that leads the way on taking care of our earth."
  • To describe its commitment to sustainability and a cleaner environment, Patagonia ran a Black Friday ad aimed at discouraging customers from purchasing too many of its products.
  • The company is said to be highly effective with respect to sustainability by targeting consumers who care about the environment and the outdoors and creating alignment between its business and operational model.
  • Patagonia is ranked as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” for more than six years in a row.
  • Part of its business model also includes an emphasis on helping to protect the very thing that top consumers care about most: the outdoors.
  • The company's effort is best summarized in their “Reason for Being,” which emphasizes the connection between their customer’s love of outdoors, and Patagonia’s dedication to protecting it.
  • In 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Since then, the company has awarded over $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.
  • In 2002, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, created a non-profit corporation to encourage other businesses to do the same.

Sustainability Efforts

  • Patagonia tries to demonstrate its efforts towards better and safer earth to both employees and customers alike through its mission statement, which is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
  • The Product Lifecycle Initiative by the company is based on the commonly know “4 R’s”: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, and Recycle.
  • To keep resources from being used in the first place, Patagonia offers durable, high-quality products that are made with low-impact inputs, like using recycled materials or organic cotton, instead of high-pesticide conventional cotton.
  • Furthermore, to minimize further impact, they offer services like in-store repairs, online “repair guides,” partnerships with consignment stores, recycling programs, and even a piloted “trade-in” program in Portland that accepts used goods for new ones.

Environmental Efforts

Social Responsibility Efforts

  • In 2002, the company hired a manager of Social Responsibility to monitor social compliance throughout the supply chain and work with the FLA.
  • In 2010, Patagonia elevated the Social Responsibility Manager position to a high-level director of Social and Environmental Responsibility.
  • This move was made by the company in order to integrate social and environmental work at the factory level.
  • Patagonia has integrated their value proposition through its entire corporate system, most obviously through the Product Lifecycle Initiative, supply chain management and transparency, and company structure. These decisions have allowed the company to differentiate itself by more than just price and quality, and create a strong reputation that appeals to its core consumers.
  • When considering new production factories, or evaluating current ones, Patagonia takes a fourfold vetting approach—one that considers social and environmental practices equally with quality standards and business requirements like financial stability, adequate capacity, and fair pricing.
  • Its Social/Environmental Responsibility (SER) team can veto a decision to work with a new factory (as can, as always, its quality team), a rare practice in the apparel business.

Summary

Due to time factor, we were unable to exhaust all efforts by Patagonia towards a safe and sound environment as the company has a lot to offer and perfectly fits the scope. As a result, we will have to continue our description of the company in our continued research if approved.

Research proposal:

Only the project owner can select the next research path.
Need a similar proposal? Let's launch your next project!