From the Harvard Business Review:
In 2005, Patagonia launched the Common Threads Recycling Program. The goal was to reduce the number of products Patagonia customers purchased through a two-fold effort.
The first part was to encourage customers to fix damaged clothing. Patagonia began publishing do-it-yourself repair guides to assist customers in repairing their clothing. To provide an alternative for customers who were unable or unwilling to repair their clothing themselves, Patagonia charged an affordable fee to have garments shipped to their repair facility.
The second aspect of the Common Threads program was to create a second-hand market for Patagonia garments that did not fit or that were no longer worn. Patagonia collaborated with eBay to develop a storefront and also created an online marketplace on its main website. Patagonia also offered to cover the shipping costs for garments that were beyond repair, which Patagonia would then break down and repurpose. To promote its Common Threads initiative, Patagonia created “Worn Wear,” a program that highlights thousands of videos and pictures from customers around the globe who treasure their worn, patched-up Patagonia garments with pride. While most companies would encourage customers to repeat their purchases, Patagonia prides itself and its customers on waste-free purchases. Patagonia’s next step was to launch a campaign in 2011 to dissuade customers from purchasing clothing that they did not really need.
On the busiest weekend for retailers in the US, a 2011 New York Times ad from Patagonia featured a picture of one of Patagonia’s highest grossing fleece jackets below the words: “DON’T BUY THIS JACKET.” Underneath was a detailed description that defended Patagonia’s rationale based on the negative environmental impacts caused by consumerism. Despite Patagonia’s efforts, sales increased by approximately 30% in the nine months following the ad. The case concludes with the business dilemma facing Chouinard: What should Patagonia do?
Rethinking activist investors from the Harvard Business Review:
Ask someone to name the demands that activist hedge funds make of companies, and they’ll likely list corporate governance issues such as board changes and executive compensation, or perhaps some form of restructuring. In fact, the largest number of shareholder resolutions filed by investors — the method through which activists work — now concern social and environmental issues. This is a recent phenomenon, according to my research: The number of these resolutions has increased dramatically over the past five years. Political spending, climate change, diversity, and human rights are now some of the most frequent resolutions that investors file.
Cisco, for example, had traditionally regarded the used equipment it received as scrap and recycled it at a cost of about $8 million a year. Four years ago it tried to find uses for the equipment, mainly because 80% of the returns were in working condition. A value-recovery team at Cisco identified internal customers that included its customer service organization, which supports warranty claims and service contracts, and the labs that provide technical support, training, and product demonstrations. In 2005 Cisco designated the recycling group as a business unit, set clear objectives for it, and drew up a notional P&L account. As a result, the reuse of equipment rose from 5% in 2004 to 45% in 2008, and Cisco’s recycling costs fell by 40%. The unit has become a profit center that contributed $100 million to Cisco’s bottom line in 2008.
Nice, published in 2009 though, wonder how their ideas have held up.
Hack the planet!
The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP) will give organizations access to troves of environmental information so they can make their own plans to counter climate change.
Joint Declaration on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Climate Resilience (state.gov)
- Organizations involved:
- Amazon Web Services
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
- Future Earth
- Group on Earth Observations
- World Bank
- World Resources Institute
SAVING our planet from the worst effects of climate change won’t be cheap. A new report from the United Nations says that the world will need to mobilize $90 trillion in public and private capital over the next 15 years.
From Heather Smith at grist.com:
In a recent interview, McCormick said she learned that many city officials believe the key to getting everybody on board to battle climate change is to avoid uttering the words “climate change.” It’s “a poisonous term to use,” one said.
On the nose!