Patagonia Wetsuits

Not for the first time, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia graces the cover of business magazine. It’s hard to ignore a company that’s been around for 30 something years, gives away pots of money to rowdy environment activists, drops best selling lines for greener ones, yet still makes $270 million USD a year. We glean from the article that Patagonia are working on a new wetsuit design. A non-petroleum neoprene made from crushed limestone with “a lining of recycled polyester and, of all things, organic wool.” And according to the Fortune piece, ”90 percent warmer than other wetsuits, as well as stretchier, stronger and naturally odor resistant.” Chouinard is quoted “We’re getting [back] into the surf market, because it’s never going to snow again, and the waves are going to get bigger and bigger.” The neoprene outer is of 80% non-petroleum based ingredients. (Fortune Mag reckoned it was made with crushed limestone but the Patagonia site is coy on that aspect.) The inner lining is a chloride-free merino wool grid bonded to recycled polyester. Kneepads are PVC-free and are said to be more durable and grippier. Coming for both men and women in 2mm and 3mm versions, to span water temps from 48 to 65°F (9 to 18°C). Long and shortie styles, although limited availability just now.

On the greener of business he remarks, “I’m blown away by Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart does one-tenth of what they say they’re going to do, it will be incredible. And hopefully America will get a government that we need rather than one we deserve, that will put pressure on business to clean up its act. But the most powerful pressure will come from the consumer. Oh, my God, it’s going to be really powerful.”



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