If you’re a person concerned with the environment, then you probably have a nice list of brands that make you feel less bad about consumerism – they make products through sustainable processes, with little to no plastic, and keep a low transport carbon footprint.
Chiefly among these brands, you’ve probably bought from – or at least heard of – Patagonia. The American outdoor clothing retailer was founded in the early ‘70s and considers itself an activist company.
Recently, Patagonia announced that it has reduced its landfill waste by 170,000 pounds over a single season. It has done so by changing its garment paper hang tag process.
Its overhaul related to its old paper hang tags, which are attached to each piece of clothing and they include info about the brand and the product.
As of now, Patagonia found a way to use QR codes instead, reducing the paper versions from 453 to 20, saving 170,000 pounds of less landfill waste.
The new process also comes with added advantages. It cuts down on the cost of assigning hang tag projects, designing, writing, managing, and fixing problems.
“We’re looking at money. We’re looking at environment,” said Patagonia’s global manager Jennifer Patrick. “But we’re also analyzing the impact on our internal resources.”
As a company that claims to work in environmentally friendly ways, it is always looking for new ways to offset its environmental impact. Jennifer’s history is in the print industry, where she had worked for two decades.
“We found that we didn’t lose any customer communication like product features or material technologies by eliminating the paper inserts,” said Jennifer.
On a mission
According to Patagonia’s mission statement, “we’re in business to save our home planet.” When it comes to consumers in the US, almost one-fourth (24%) said that they avoid companies whose actions contradict their values.
In addition, 20% of consumers said that they would prefer competitors over the offending company. 19% would even stop doing business with the company for a specific period of time. 19% would instead buy fewer products from that company. And 16% would tell friends and family to avoid the company.
“Patagonia is not Adidas or Nike,” said Jennifer. Referring to the hang tag adoption, she said that: “This change has a small impact overall but was a big impact for us.”
Redirect with tech
Early on in the lifecycle of fashion products is the packaging. Before the hang tag change, design and editorial teams had to create content for each tag. Back then, Patagonia would print 453 tag designs and then send them to the factory floor.
When purchase orders went in, the tags were then attached and ready to go. But with 1,000 different clothing styles, this would take too much time to make sure that the correct tags were on each style of clothing.
Now with QR codes, it cuts work time from 353 days to just 3 days each year. “It took 353 days,” said Jennifer, “almost a year’s worth of our time spent on this process throughout the company.”
According to Jennifer, retailers should challenge designers more to use more technology and less materials. “If retailers go more digital with information, it opens up the opportunity to save on materials – that saves us money.
“Use less and it’s not just a win from an environmental standpoint; it’s a financial win.”
PS: ArganoUV is one of the world’s leading digital products & experiences integrators. Contact us to see how we can work together.