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There are a number of companies that come to mind when a person asks about expedition clothing companies and that number rapidly drops as a person looks into the sustainability practices of those companies. One must consider the cost of a well made coat but truly they must also consider whether or not they will be able to have that same coat in fifty years. Most companies, while trying hard to deliver a great product at a low cost, simply focus on that, not on other important aspects like the environmental impact they made by producing such a garment. While you look for a new coat or piece of outerwear this season, consider where your money is going and what it supports. Some companies are supporting the environment while others simply give you a great product but have not yet given thought to sustainable production. On the whole, any company you support will continue to do as they have done in the past and as you shop this year, look for a garment that will not only give you satisfaction, but also support sustainability and help preserve the world we all love.
As we look for a piece of clothing we consider names like Patagonia, Rab, Mountain Hardware, The North Face, Mont-bell, OR and First Assent as makers of high quality clothing that will both last and get you to the summit and back safely. Yet when one considers sustainability initiatives coupled with this quality the name of Patagonia rises to the forefront. They are a cofounder of The Conservation Alliance, give environmental grants, have The 1% for the Planet Program, The Common Threads Initiative and much more. They are the industry leader for sustainability and have developed The Common Threads Initiative to recycle old nylon, fleece, cotton and more to help reduce waste and have also created a more sustainable manufacturing process. On the whole, the Patagonia brand has gained support simply because of its pro earth stance and high quality in both products and sustainability.
None the less, there are other manufacturers who are trying and succeeding to become more sustainable and many of the best manufacturers have joined or are also co founders of The Conservation Alliance. This organization promotes sustainable practices by giving grants and other support to develop a partnership between the business world and the earth. The members of this organization include REI, EMS, Mountain Hardware, and another founding member The North Face. All of these companies and about 180 more, have made the switch to say they will support, protect and attempt to become more sustainable as they produce products. This is definitely a step in the right direction and these large industry leaders banding together will help to reduce our waste and save the planet we all enjoy so much.
Your voice counts in the move to sustainable clothing production and your wallet speaks louder than you can. By supporting a company that is a sustainable producer, you can help fund them, to grow larger and produce more. Once they are able to gain a large market share they will be noticed by other companies. Others will attempt to recreate their products and will probably see that sustainability is an element they should incorporate into their company. Supporting a company that focuses on sustainability will help make this world a better place to live in and will change the industry if enough people understand that their vote counts; so this year as you look for clothing, decide if the extra money you might spend will make a bigger difference in the future and choose a company that promotes planetary welfare, as well as delivering a great product.