Outdoor apparel company Patagonia is working to restore grasslands in its namesake region of Argentina through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Ovis XXI, an Argentine company working to improve the economic, environmental, social and human sustainability of the sheep-based supply chain.
Patagonia will source all of its merino wool from the region, which is developing and implementing sustainable grazing practices intended to regenerate grasslands once destroyed by grazing.
Additionally, the merino sheep from which the wool comes are non-mulesed. Mulesing is the controversial practice of removing strips of wool-bearing skin from around the buttocks of a sheep in an effort to prevent fly infestation.
Patagonia suppliers employ a wool classification system in which specific wool qualities are separated and selected at the time of shearing, and processed in a chlorine-free manner.
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Patagonia says these new husbandry practices are yielding a merino that is superior in quality to any merino fibers the company has previously seen.
Additionally, all of Patagonia’s merino and capilene base-layer clothing items are bluesign® approved, which means that all chemicals and finishes have been vetted to be free of toxins and reflect progressive environmental standards.
Last November, Patagonia announced it has come up with a sustainable replacement for the neoprene used in wetsuits.
@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.