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29 Mar

How Ethical Is Patagonia?

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Loved and known for its more planet-friendly outdoorwear, Patagonia continues to make strides across the board. So how ethical is Patagonia? Read on to learn more about the brand’s “Good” rating.  This article is based on the Patagonia rating published in March 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

Is Patagonia a sustainable and ethical brand?

Patagonia is widely known as an outdoor and adventure-wear brand that leads the way on taking care of our earth. With a mission statement to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis”, Patagonia has set a high bar.

During COP26, Patagonia even announced that it no longer wants to call itself a “sustainable brand”, recognising that despite its efforts, it’s still very much part of the problem. The brand now aims to reduce its footprint further, by cutting emissions throughout its supply chain. So just how ethical is Patagonia? And are there any brands like Patagonia that might better meet your needs? Let’s take a look.

Environmental impact

Patagonia is taking impressive action to reduce its environmental impact. A high proportion of its materials are made from recycled fabrics, including its polyester, nylon, and wool. Most importantly, Patagonia’s business model is different: it rejects fast fashion by creating high-quality, long-lasting products, and offers a repair and reuse program. Patagonia has also conducted research with industry bodies on the impact of microplastics.

It even goes so far as to discourage customers from purchasing too many of its products. The brand’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign was designed to tackle the issues of consumerism head on. Patagonia recognises that buying less is one of the major steps shoppers can take to reduce their own eco footprint, saying “It would be hypocritical for us to work for environmental change without encouraging customers to think before they buy.” That’s a message we can get behind.

Patagonia is rated “Good'” for the environment due to these fantastic initiatives, but there is more it can do to achieve the top environment rating. While the brand has implemented greenhouse gas emissions reduction activities throughout its supply chain to reduce its climate impact, we found no evidence it has a policy to prevent deforestation in its supply chain. We don’t know whether Patagonia is addressing this issue, but strongly recommend that it puts its commitments and actions on the public record for that final push in this category.

Labour conditions

Patagonia is making “Good” efforts for workers with good policies to audit suppliers in its supply chain.

Patagonia received a score of 41-50% in the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index. Some of its supply chain is certified by FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and Fair Trade USA in the final stage of production. The brand also publishes a detailed list of suppliers in the final stage of production and some information about the findings of supplier audits, as well as some information about forced labour, gender equality, or freedom of association. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Patagonia also disclosed some policies to protect workers in its supply chain from the virus.

Patagonia was previously rated “It’s a Start” for labour a couple years ago, due to the lack of evidence it ensured payment of a living wage. We knew the brand could do better for the workers that make its more sustainable clothing, which is why we’re happy that Patagonia is now ensuring payment of a living wage in some of the final stage of production.

Animal welfare

Patagonia has also improved its animal welfare policies, going from “It’s a Start” to “Good” in this category a couple years ago. It now has a formal animal welfare policy aligned with Five Freedoms, and traces most animal-derived materials to the first production stage. It appears to use leather and recycled exotic animal hair, and uses recycled wool and down in some of its products. The brand does not use angora, fur, or exotic animal skin.

Global animal welfare organisation Four Paws called out Patagonia for its inhumane treatment of birds in the past, but the label was quick to respond. It now works side by side with the organisation to encourage humane practices industry-wide.

Overall rating: Good

We’ve given Patagonia an overall rating of “Good”, based on our own research. This brand lives up to the standards it set itself by pushing for sustainability across the board. We’re glad to see the brand improve over the years. To build on that great work we recommend that Patagonia looks at preventing deforestation, paying a living wage across all of its supply chain, and keep reducing the amount of animal-derived materials it uses. Patagonia is certainly a brand worth giving your support to.

See the rating.

Shop Patagonia @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Patagonia Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Patagonia.

Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

Similar brands to Patagonia

While Patagonia is certainly a leader in its field, it has some improvements to make and may not be exactly what you are looking for. Here are some brands like Patagonia for all your conscious outdoor clothing needs.


Rated: Good
Kelly Slater wearing blue Outerknown surf trunks.

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a more responsible brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand is Bluesign certified and has partnered with the Fair Labour Association.

Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Outerknown.

Shop Outerknown @ Wearwell.


Rated: Good

Alder is a Canadian brand that offers inclusive sizing, community-informed design, sustainable and ethical production. This playful brand starkly contrasts with the performance-driven, hard-core athletic brands that currently dominate the outdoor space. The brand believes that outdoor recreation = happiness and the outdoor industry should be focused on fun, not exclusively performance and be a real leader in inclusivity, diversity and sustainability. Find most items in sizes XS to 6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Alder.


Rated: Good
woman of colour wearing organic cotton hoodie by brand PACT

PACT is a US-based brand that is passionate about being part of a movement transforming the way apparel is made. All of its clothing is sweatshop-free and child-labour-free, and its activewear range is almost entirely made from certified organic cotton, with more than 50% also certified as Fair Trade.

Find PACT in sizes XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop PACT.


Rated: Good
sustainable fashion brand groundtruth

UK-based GROUNDTRUTH grew from three sisters’ shared belief in the power of collaboration, and their drive to protect people and nurture the planet. Together, they saw the opportunity to design problem-solving travel goods that drive positive change: reducing plastic pollution and improving people’s lives.

See the rating.



Rated: Great

éclipse creates climate control UPF 50+ clothing essentials and accessories to help keep the whole family sunsafe. It manufactures locally to reduce its carbon footprint, and its entire product range is vegan-friendly.

Products are stocked in sizes S-XL.

See the rating.

Shop éclipse.

Thesus (Alice + Whittles)

Rated: Good
sustainable weekender boot from fashion brand Alice + Whittles

Thesus favours transparency, responsible manufacturing practices, and lower-impact materials as a means of creating long-lasting, positive change.

Find the boots in EU sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop Thesus.


Rated: Good
People wearing clothing from more responsible brand Nikin.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to wear their morals, look no further than Swiss brand NIKIN. Not only is a tree planted every time you purchase a NIKIN product, you also get to show your tree pride.

Products are available in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.


Wuxly Movement

Rated: Good
Two people outside wearing a mint green and a bright orange technical raincoat ethically made by Wuxly Movement.

Wuxly Movement is a Canadian outerwear brand combining tech-based and recycled materials for elite performance. Drawing on Canada's heritage in quality manufacturing, the founder saw an opportunity to innovate using more responsible materials—all while peacefully leaving animals out of the equation.

Find the range in 2XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Wuxly Movement.


Rated: Good
back views of person in red knit sweater and blue jeans, person in checked shirt and white jeans, and person in cream and striped long cardigan and skinny blue jeans by Toad&Co walking with linked arms

Toad&Co is a US brand that creates more socially and environmentally-committed womenswear and menswear that is equally suited for the rigours of the trail or the tavern.

Most items are available in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Toad&Co.

Shop Toad&Co @ Wearwell.

Yuki Threads

Rated: Good

Yuki Threads is a premium Australian snowboarding apparel brand.

See the rating.

Shop Yuki Threads.

The North Face (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

For more than 50 years, The North Face has made activewear and outdoor sports gear that exceeds expectations. The brand has good policies to eliminate hazardous chemicals in its supply chain and uses some lower-impact materials, including recycled materials.

See the rating.

Shop The North Face Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Jack Wolfskin (Pre-Owned)

Rated: Good

Founded in 1941, Jack Wolfskin is a German brand on a mission to motivate people to go outside and connect with nature, experience new things, and enjoy (life outdoors) with family and friends. The brand has good policies to audit suppliers in its supply chain and it uses a few eco-friendly materials.

See the rating.

Shop Jack Wolfskin Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Discover more ethical and sustainable outdoorwear brands

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, additional images via the brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use the directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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