Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle…. The 4 Rs are a great guideline for lowering our impact on the planet and cherishing its limited resources! These verbs are not always the easiest to practise in our personal and corporate lives. We as a global community clearly still have a long way to go.

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One R that is often hard to practise is Repair. So many of the products that are made today are built in such a way to break and fail. The term for this is called “planned obsolescence.” For more information about this, watch this short film by The Story of Stuff! It is a pretty crazy that we have come to the point that most of what we build is meant to fail and break. Surely we should be aiming to build things to last!

 

 

Anyway, I want to highlight a company that has been moving in the opposite direction for years: the clothing company Patagonia. These guys make both technical and casual apparel and if you have been on a trip with me you will have noticed that most of my mountain clothing is from Patagonia. After reading their book ‘The Responsible Company’, I was pretty inspired by their ethics and their openness about their journey as a company, seeking to be both environmentally and socially responsible – something that all companies should be aiming for, especially in light of the current climate crisis.

 

One of the decisions I made after reading the book was to slowly replace kit as it wears out and to replace it, if at all possible, with Patagonia kit, often through sales or by buying second hand gear. Not much of a sacrifice if you are patient, like their colour schemes and designs, not to mention their commitment to build durable, long-lasting kit. Over the last few years they have been publishing the Worn Wear Stories which people have sent in about their gear, their adventures using it, and the repairs made to the gear.

 

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So here is my first story:

 

 

As you know, we do a lot of winter mountaineering trips in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco and being a qualified Mountaineering Instructor, I have also spent loads of time in Scotland in the winter. Since about 2009 I have been using the ultra classic R1 hoodie. I put it on around December time and it stays on until around April depending on the winter season’s length. This hoodie rocks whatever version you have of it.

 

Of course, due to how much I wear it, the hoodie finally needed some repair: the main zip on the chest pocket started to separate from the rest of the garment and I couldn’t fix it myself. I’m currently visiting family in California so I was able to send the hoodie to Patagonia’s repair centre in Reno (you can also repair kit in Europe). I got it back about a week later as good as new and ready for the upcoming winter season! Once again, I am incredibly impressed with Patagonia and the way in which they make the mountaineering world a little bit more sustainable and ethical.

 

Let’s hope that more companies look to bring this type of ethic and practice back!

 

 

 

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Me happy after getting back my repaired R1 hoodie!

 

Three practises that you can count on from Patagonia – check out there website!

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Categories: Blog, James, Responsibility
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