It’s not just a pack on your back

Written by Paper. Posted in Drive

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Published on May 04, 2016 with No Comments

By now, the backpack buying seasoning is winding down as students head back to kindergarten or college or somewhere in between. Not to mention computer backpacks and the ones for actual backpacking. Somewhere, there’s a whole backpack economy going on. There are backpack designers, makers, branders, marketers, sellers and buyers. But wait, there’s more. The final leg of the backpack economy is the old backpack being discarded, and either recycled or sent to a landfill. Who would have guessed? And no, this is not social commentary on the ethics of backpacks. But the people at Patagonia don’t mind social commentary on their backpacks. At least that’s the impression from their “Footprint Chronicles,” which aim to bring a level of transparency to their business decisions.
Take their Chacabuco Pack – please. It’s designed in California. The fabric is woven in South Korea and the pack is sewn in Vietnam before being shipped to Nevada for distribution. Each step adds to the footprint of the pack. That is a concern for the Patagonia leaders because they want to lower their footprint and care for the earth. But it’s not an easy task. Recycled nylon is expensive. Manufacturing in the U.S. is also expensive. These factors affect their business decisions because they started out with the goal of creating a reasonably priced backpack. Back in the day many of their products were made here but that’s no longer a cost effective option for them. And that’s just one American company’s story of trying to, “build the best products and cause no unnecessary harm.”

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