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Patagonia & eBay Partner to Reduce Consumption

Patagonia has launched a first-of-its-kind campaign for a consumer products company – asking customers to reduce unnecessary consumption of its own products.

"The Common Threads Initiative addresses a significant part of today's environmental problem – the footprint of our stuff," notes Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder and owner. "This program first asks customers to not buy something if they don't need it. If they do need it, we ask that they buy what will last a long time – and to repair what breaks, reuse or resell whatever they don't wear any more. And, finally, recycle whatever's truly worn out.”

Patagonia in turn commits to make products that last, help repair quickly anything that breaks, and recycle the company's entire product line.

To help customers put used clothes back in circulation, Patagonia and eBay Inc. have joined forces to launch a new marketplace for customers to buy and sell used Patagonia gear.

The campaign flies in the face of conventional retail and economic theory that stresses the importance of ever-increasing growth.

Patagonia's Common Threads Initiative store on eBay establishes a new model for consumption: It marks the first time a major retail brand actively encourages its customers to buy and sell used products on eBay, and it is eBay's first multi-seller branded store.

A customer who lists a used Patagonia product on eBay will be asked to take the Common Threads Initiative pledge and become a partner. Membership will make the customer's listing eligible for inclusion in the Common Threads Initiative store on eBay and on Patagonia will not receive any of the profits associated with the Common Threads Initiative storefront.

The collaboration between Patagonia and eBay was born out of their common interest to extend the useful life of products. eBay, the world's largest online marketplace, has, over the past year, developed new initiatives that extend the impact of its inherently sustainable business model.

The eBay Box, launched as a pilot in September 2010, encourages buyers and sellers to reuse packaging; and eBay Instant Sale, launched in October 2010, encourages customers to sell and/or recycle their used electronics.

The Common Threads initiative is a perfect fit for eBay’s sustainability slogan: “the greenest product is one that already exists.” The company hopes it will create a new model for sustainable commerce within the apparel industry – one that emphasizes product, reuse, and tapping the full useful life of clothing.

Patagonia was one of the first companies to advocate for corporate transparency through its interactive website, The Footprint Chronicles, which details the environmental and social footprint of each product.

Last week, Japanese clothing company UNIQLO announced that it is bringing its All-Products recycling program to stores in the US, UK and France.

Bart King is a PR consultant and founder of Cleantech Communications.



Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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