Patagonia's Water Footprint
Patagonia is in the midst of a two-year initiative, Our Common Waters, to educate and engage our friends and customers. While this campaign focuses on the freshwater crisis facing the earth during the next several decades, it also strikes directly home for Patagonia as a company. We need to better educate ourselves and improve our own practices as a business that relies on water for its survival – and to pass on to customers (and other businesses) whatever we learn that’s new.
At Patagonia, we’re only beginning to learn just how much water we consume – or how much water is used in our name. We do know that, as individuals, each of us drains an Olympic-sized poolful of water (2.5 million liters) to slake a year’s worth of daily thirst, make ice cubes for the lemonade, power the low-flow toilet, feed the plants, and wash the dishes and grow cotton for our T-shirts. Just how much water is used in manufacturing an organic cotton T-shirt – from the field through spinning, weaving, sewing and shipping to our Reno warehouse? Answer: 703 liters
Note: Blue indicates points of significant water use. The product water footprint for one Patagonia Simply Organic Women’s T-shirt is 703 liters.
Business, including agribusiness, has direct responsibility for most of the water coming out of that Olympic-sized pool. As individuals we have to remember that much of the water used in our name doesn’t come out of the tap we turn on to rinse the dishes, but rather as our share of the sum of industrial production and consumption.
We have our work cut out for us this year and in the years ahead: not only to become fully aware of how much water goes into the making of every product, but to begin to reduce it.