Our Common Waters
Every living thing has the right to clean water.
Imagine the path taken by a drop of rain from the time it hits the ground to when it reaches a river, ground water, or the ocean. Any pollutant it picks up on its journey can become part of the problem.
Patagonia’s final segment of its Our Common Waters campaign will focus on clean water and its opposite – water pollution. We’ll spotlight hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the tar sands/pipeline controversy, agriculture pollution and something that strikes close to home, textile pollution. And, as we have throughout this campaign, we’ll connect biodiversity and clean water and focus on actions that protect freshwater biodiversity.
Clean water is under assault. The latest EPA National Water Quality Inventory indicates that agriculture is the leading contributor to water quality impairments, degrading 60 percent of impaired river miles and half of impaired lake acreage. In the United States alone, agricultural pollution accounts for 60 percent of contamination in rivers and lakes.
Patagonia’s own industry is not immune. Right after agriculture, textile manufacturing is the next largest polluter worldwide. “Causing no unnecessary harm” is part of our mission statement at Patagonia. And nowhere is that more important than reducing our impacts on our freshwater resources. We began working with bluesign® technologies in 2000. bluesign® is an independent group of chemists, based in Switzerland, who audit the energy, water and chemical usage of “system partners.” System partners are primarily textile mills and finishers, which pay bluesign® to help them achieve continuous, long-term environmental improvement and other, often cost-saving, efficiencies.
Any fabric you see that’s bluesign® approved is manufactured using best practices in the efficient use of energy and water, consumer safety, water emissions, air emissions, and occupational health and safety.
In 2011 we set a goal to use only bluesign® approved fabrics by our fall 2015 product season, and we’re under way. Our Capilene® and Merino products will be made of 100% bluesign® approved fabrics beginning fall 2013.