In this episode of On Paper, Dumain explains how Patagonia, a leading producer of quality outdoor clothing, uses business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Through participation in numerous organizations and industry efforts, Patagonia has collaborated with suppliers and competitors alike, to minimize the potential impact their worldwide supply chain and production practices could have on the earth.
"We realize our company is much smaller than the people we have the potential to influence," explains Dumain. "We have to influence companies larger than us if we are going to reach that ultimate goal."
As a founding member of the Organic Exchange, a business-to-business effort to stabilize the organic fiber market, Patagonia helped balance fiber supply with demand and as a result the Exchange is now examining the broader topic of sustainable textiles. And through participation in the Outdoor Industry Association's Eco-Working Group, Patagonia is helping to develop an eco-index for consumer products which will help outdoor companies, both large and small, measure where they are on the environmental impact scale, in turn offering guidance to make informed decisions regarding the production of their goods.
It is experiences like these, Dumain shares with On Paper, that have shown other companies the benefit of sharing environmental research, even with competitors.
"We can work behind the scenes and share this information, that really is pre-competitive, and still compete on the merits of our design, durability, color, style," Dumain explains. "It's very powerful because it takes a lot of time to do environmental research and work. If you can share that with colleagues in other companies, everybody moves ahead so much faster."