08/22/2017

The 12 Forward Thinkers Changing Style and Sustainability

Author: Lindsay Talbot | Published: July 19, 2017

Washington may be bailing on the planet, but the fashion industry isn’t.

hese people, from all different industries, all have one thing in common: They’re at the forefront of style and sustainability, and want to be part of the solution. They’re retrofitting factories and building stores that rely on clean energy and emit less of the carbon contributing to global warming. They’re transforming discarded plastics choking our oceans and waterways into jeans and sneakers. They’re developing innovations that reduce waste, recycling materials, and leading by the example of their personal choices. Trends in fashion may come and go, but taking care and being mindful of the environment is one trend that defies all seasons.

Here, the trailblazers we highlight in our first-ever sustainability issue, on newsstands now.

The Original: Yvon Chouinard

Because he sided with the planet long before it was trendy to do so.

PROFESSION: Founder, Patagonia.

ECO CRED: Founded in 1973, Patagonia has racked up major firsts in its steady march toward sustainability. First to switch all of its cotton clothing to organic in 1996 (and heavily invest in regenerative agriculture, working with farmers and scientists to develop technologies that rebuild topsoil and capture carbon in the earth for over 20 years). First clothing line to make fleece using recycled bottles. First to pledge 1 percent of annual sales (as an “Earth tax”) to grassroots organizations, for upwards of $82 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.

OFFICE SPACE: Under Chouinard’s stewardship, the company scrupulously measured the eco-impacts of articles of its clothing in The Footprint Chronicles on its website; converted its Ventura, California, headquarters to new solar-powered smart-grid energy systems; started the Worn Wear initiative, which repairs clothes so they can be used longer; and launched a Drive-Less program that rewards employees who carpool, take public transit, or bike, skateboard, etc., to work with a yearly stipend. Last year, staffers drove 798,900 fewer single-driver miles, cutting CO2 emissions by 589,900 pounds and saving 30,400 gallons of fuel.

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