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Patagonia gets UN Champion of the Earth award

Nairobi, Sep 24 (IANS) American outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has been named a UN Champion of the Earth, receiving the UN’s top environmental honour for a dynamic mix of policies that has put sustainability at the heart of its successful business model, it was announced on Tuesday.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) recognised Patagonia, whose products are made from recycled materials, including plastic bottles, in the entrepreneurial vision category.

Since Patagonia was founded in 1973 by environmentalist and entrepreneur Yvon Chouinard, it has won plaudits for its sustainable supply chains and advocacy for the environment.

The company recently updated its mission statement to reflect the urgency of the environmental crisis: “We’re in business to save our home planet”.

From a small company making tools for climbers, Patagonia has become a global leader in sustainability. Its drive to preserve the planet’s ecosystems runs through the entire business from the products made and the materials used to the donation of money to environmental causes.

Nearly 70 per cent of Patagonia’s products are made from recycled materials, including plastic bottles, and the goal is to use 100 per cent renewable or recycled materials by 2025.

The company also uses hemp and organic cotton. It is committed to simplicity, utility and durability — a novel undertaking in a world where fast fashion is the norm for many companies and consumers.

Since 1986, the company has contributed at least 1 per cent of its annual sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

In 2002, Chouinard and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, created a non-profit organisation – 1 per cent for the planet — to encourage other companies to do the same.

Thanks to its 1 per cent pledge, Patagonia has provided more than $100 million to grassroots organisations and helped train thousands of young activists over the past 35 years.

“Through its commitment to sustainability and engagement with today’s most pressing environmental issues, Patagonia offers a perfect example of how the private sector can join the battle against climate change, biodiversity loss and other threats to human and planetary health,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said.

–IANS

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