Interview with Cara Chacon
Cara Chacon
Cara Chacon
Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility

You can't manage what you don't measure
Sustainability is a serious issue at Patagonia, a leading manufacturer and retailer for outdoor clothing and gear. Cara Chacon, Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility at Patagonia discusses the sustainability measures carried out in the company, along with remedial measures to enhance sustainability in the global apparel and fashion industry in an interview with

What is the sustainability matrix followed at Patagonia?

Our sustainability programme covers our supply chain - corporate and product, social and environmental footprint and traceability and animal welfare. We primarily focus our efforts on finished goods (tier 1) and raw materials' supplier levels (tier 2). But we are also doing as much work as we can at the farm level (tier 3) in social responsibility, traceability and animal welfare. Our vision is to develop a completely sustainable supply chain in all responsibility areas over time. The social and environmental responsibility team works closely with our supply chain operations team via our 'four-fold approach' to managing our supply chain. We enjoy a lot of support and collaboration from the business teams and sustainability values, goals and targets are embedded in all of our product teams' daily work.

Which technologies do you plan to adopt in order to enhance sustainability?

We are constantly looking beyond the horizon for new ways to innovate and move sustainability forward in a meaningful way. Here are a few examples of what we are working on: For environmental responsibility, we just launched our new Chemical Environmental Impact Programme (CEIP). We created what we think is the best practice for chemical and environmental management in the supply chain. The programme is grounded on the Bluesign Standard, and allows suppliers to achieve environmental excellence via several pre-approved industry programmes. It also fosters suppliers to go beyond regular compliance and achieve our gold standard level. For social responsibility, we are working with the Fair Labour Association (FLA) and Fair Trade USA to develop several different ways our factories can achieve living wages in our tier 1 supply chain. We are tinkering around with several different models and building on the Fair Trade programme, which helps to empower and raise wages directly and indirectly in our certified factories.
Published on: 09/11/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of