1. Which environmental issue is faced by the firm?
The water was polluted because of the use of toxic chemicals, leading to a major
tension between quality and environmental harm.
Also, they had a problem with a rain shell that stopped preventing saturation functionally degraded into a wind shell long before the garment itself wore out. So, the new environmental problem was that garment thus needed to be replaced more frequently, which constituted its own environmental problem, every replacement garment came with its own environmental cost in energy and water used, and waste and greenhouse gases generated, so sacrificing garment life was a serious trade-off for the company.
This wasnt only an environmental problem, this harm the company because this represents a kind of cost.
2. What is the environmental impact of the firm?
I think the impact is high because they somehow were polluting a lot and causing damage on the environment, but when they realized and start implementing new ideas and solutions such as changing from de C8 to C6, they were more environmental responsible and they began to pollute less.
3. Where does the business opportunity come from?
When they realized, they need to change in a positive way because they were damaging a lot the environment. Their mission was to build the best product, but also to cause no unnecessary harm to the environment, using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
They really need to search for a drop-in DWR substitute, because if they continued ignoring this, this would only lead to straying away from environmental regulations, and if the company continues its activities which pollute and cause harm to the environment, there is a risk of going out of business and being fined because of ignoring legal compliance and regulatory requirements.
So, the company has no alternative, and they have to they have to adjust to the new regulations in order to continue in the business and they need to invest on the searching for DWR substitute for manufacturing its products and to do its part in not harming the environment.
4. What are the tensions for Patagonia around DWR and who are the stakeholders associated with each of these tensions?
The companys team discussed about the ongoing path about the tensions that arose between the companys requirement for performance, durability, time-period, and unnecessary environmental harm. One of Patagonias pressing environmental, health and a supply chain problem was the use of DWRs on outerwear such as jackets.
On Patagonias durable water repellent (DWR) Problem, this is a highly effective chemical treatment used to waterproof jackets (Supporting the quality objective) but has by-products that are toxic and persist in the environment.
Conventional DWR treatment involved the surface application of a long chain of fluorocarbons (such as C8), C8 was a type of fluorocarbon or PFC that was petroleum-based and used in various other consumer products such as on stick cookware, paints and coatings that were highly effective and durable, but that produced by-products that were toxic and constant in the environment.
Patagonia was not aware of any links between increased fluorocarbons such as C8 in the body due to skin contact from its clothing. Patagonias temporary solution was to switch from a c8 fluorocarbon based, treatment to shorter-chain C6 treatment also fluorocarbon based, but with byproducts that broke down fasts in the environment and with less potential toxicity over time to humans, wild lifes and fishes.
They are the people who are actively involved with the work of the project or have something to wither gain or lose as a result of the project. Project managers is most responsible deal with stakeholders ensures that they will have a complex handle project through the lifecycle. Problems with any of these members can share with each other and involve in loss or gain.
The issues that are faced are ensure with stakeholder has an appropriate way to participate and offer input, they are involved in any type of damage or fail and eliminating the need to address his or her issues once the project is underway, and feel free to share with stakeholders any problem or funding issue.
5. Is Patagonias focus on quality, in this case water repellency, constraining its ability to rethink its products? Should Patagonia change its quality/durability standards for different products lines (Super Alpine vs. Board Shorts)?
Yes, Patagonia was very focused on quality. The switch to C6 from C8 took longer time but the switch didn’t result in any consumer complaint, implying that the emphasis on C8 and superior quality across ranges was nothing but obsession. Each type of product is exposed to varied degree of stress and hence it makes sense to have varied quality standards across products. Increasing stress resistance where it is not required leads to increase in price and unnecessary use of harmful chemicals.
6. What will really change the textile industry to adopt more sustainable solutions? What influence do brands have over global supply chains? What role do consumers have? How can a relatively small company like Patagonia move massive companies like DuPont/Chemours? How can it move the entire ecosystem away from environmentally damaging practices?
I think that the textile industry will adopt more sustainable solutions if these solutions become financially viable for them in the long run like in a more solid and secure way. There are several interesting innovative technologies being introduced in this sector but they are kind of expensive, but if they prove to be viable for the companies, the textile industry will adopt these sustainable and green solutions. For example, I read about a new technology that has been introduced, this technology consists on the dyeing process which is done through air and this process saves several gallons of water and of course money because you need less resources in the process.
Brands usually wield strong influence over global supply chains as many organizations and companies in the supply chain derive majority of their revenues from large and big brands. Thus, the brands are in a position to dictate terms to the organizations in the supply chain.
Consumers can play an equally important role as well as they are the ones that determine the emerging trends. Consumers are largely adopting garments that follow sustainable practices. For instance, many discerning buyers are now buying textiles that use digital printing. Digital printing reduces the use of water as well as energy. Also, I think consumers will feel like attracted to a brand that is sustainable and green, but the brand need to have good designs and cool stuff so they have the attention of the consumers. Consumers always likes a green brand because now a day there is a strong trend to this kind of business.
Small garment manufacturers like Patagonia will have to gradually make changes in their supply chain structure to move behemoths like DuPont (the company makes chemicals and other materials used in the textile industry). Small companies like Patagonia can move the entire eco system by introducing those changes that are financially attractive to the big companies on an incremental basis. Small companies should come together and form an industry body to represent them and encourage companies like DuPont and Chemours to adopt more environmental friendly practices.
Also, there are other solutions that some brands like Nike are implementing, Im not 100% sure on how is the process but I know they do sports uniforms and jerseys from PET material, they are implementing a creative and ecological way to save the environment and continue selling their products. Actually, I read an article that since they implement this technique they sell more their products because people feel that if they buy they are contributing and helping Nike to save the world. So, maybe is an expensive process in order to make this jerseys from PET material, but their sells are raising, they sell more because and they are making a good image and they are incrementing their prestige as a green and environmental responsible brand, so I think this is a very profitable process.
In general I think that being an ecologically responsible company is something quite profitable in every way, so it is worth having that cost that in the long run is an investment, but of course, this will always represent a money and time risk for the brand that wants to do it.
7. In what instances have Patagonia attempted to transform its supply chain and the broader industry but did not succeed? Why do you think the company failed?
In instances where performance is not being maximized and new innovations are required, Patagonia attempted to transform it’s supply chain, But it’s principles which are non-compromising such as pollution free production is something which is not completely possible in broader industry. There is no unity between various departments and hence the transformation became tough for the supply chain and hence the company failed to transform it’s supply chain into an advanced one. So I think first they have to improve their business model and invest better than they did in the past, more technology and research has to be involved but this is very expensive and it takes a lot of time, but I think is something that has to be done and improve in order to have a more solid an succesful business in the future.