On Patagonia’s Recent Environmental Initiative & “Fair Trade” (Ep.3)

Patagonia enjoys a strong reputation for being a socially and environmentally conscious company. But in an era of greenwashing—where pretty much everyone claims to be doing things in a socially and environmentally responsible way—we wanted to focus in on a new particular Patagonia initiative and explore the specific details.

So we went to Patagonia’s headquarters in Ventura, California, and spoke with Mark Little, Patagonia’s Product Line Director for Men’s Sportswear and Surf Apparel, to talk to him about Patagonia’s new denim initiative, give him a chance to lay out what, exactly, they are doing differently.

Mark and I also get into the notion of “Fair Trade” — a term that all of us have heard, but do any of us really know what “Fair Trade” means or looks like?

Finally, Mark and I discuss Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard’s current role in Patagonia’s new projects and initiatives.

Show Notes

• Mark Little, Patagonia’s Product Line Director of Men’s Sportswear and Surf Apparel

Patagonia Blister Podcast
Mark Little, Product Line Director, Patagonia

• Patagonia’s New Denim Initiative

• Patagonia’s explanation of their Fair Trade Initiative


Fair Trade USA’s site:


Statement by Fair Trade USA:

“Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. We’re a nonprofit, but we don’t do charity. Instead, we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.”

• Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard

The Blister Podcast, Patagonia
Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard

2 comments on “On Patagonia’s Recent Environmental Initiative & “Fair Trade” (Ep.3)”

  1. Well, I hope they are more durable than there (apparently abandoned) effort at making jeans with hemp. I had a pair of those and they were promoted for rock climbing (part of the Rhythm line about 10 years ago)…after a few bouldering sessions on Buttermilk granite they quickly fell apart. And they shrunk strangely after a few washings and had other problems too… I’ve been a Patagonia user since the early days of maybe 1983 and, while they have high aspirations, and excellent marketing, and good design, they also have more than their share of flops, and at times very overly optimistic (i hope….) claims. I still buy and use their stuff, don’t get me wrong –much of it is world-class–, but their marketing department seems to have a bit too much leeway at times. I hope this isn’t one of those times, but the thing is that environmental benefits are out the window if the product doesn’t last several years, and those hemp jeans were a very poor example.

  2. The other interesting thing that Patagonia (and probably others) have discovered is that all that plastic used in making fleece and Capilene becomes micro-plastic fibres that enter our water supply and ultimately the ocean. We are so much our environment’s worst enemy. At least Patagonia has addressed the issue now.

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