Patagonia says no to unlimited growth
As Britain struggles to regain momentum for economic growth, some businesses are calling into question whether or not going for growth is the right thing to do. Sustainable business, they say, cannot have unlimited growth as the world simply doesn’t have unlimited resources. One company that’s turning business thinking on its head is Patagonia, the outdoor and adventure wear manufacturer. Their ad campaign on ‘black Friday’ last November urged consumers ‘don’t buy this jacket’ when other retailers were busy promoting more and cheaper products.
The jacket featured in the ads costs more than it sells for, when all the environmental costs are included. Its manufacture uses enough drinking water for 45 people, generates 20 times its weight in carbon dioxide emissions and two-thirds its weight in scrap.
A spokesperson for the company said that today, consumerism is like an addiction and the first step in rehabilitation is to acknowledge there is a problem that needs addressing.
"Our head of environmental initiatives says prosperity tied to growth is the elephant in the room that nobody is really prepared to talk about," he says. "Certainly businesses would be reluctant to talk about it,” they said and added:
"It’s time to talk about the elephant. I have been meeting with college students as well as customers at Patagonia stores and the response to this is very strong, I think people are looking for a deeper conversation than we have been having about what business should be doing or can be doing."