While it is noted in the post that “take a unified global effort to effect change in environmental impact” I think this is a great start. The company has taken an added step in bringing others to awareness of a global problem. The statement by grzyw004 “Nothing changes unless first the problem is identified and second someone says, how can we make it better?” does lay the foundation for change. Another international example of this would be the blood diamond trade. Until 1990s the citizens of the United States were by and large unaware of where their jewelry came from. It was not until companies such as Shane Co. (the largest diamond importer in the United States) which had the power to decide who and where their product came from did ad campaigns begin to sprout up.
In lieu of further profits the Shane Co. participated in the Kimberley Process which is an organization made up of 43 states and regions that control 99.8% of the diamond trade. At their meeting in Kimberley, South Africa in May 2000 it was decided to put an end to the importation of ‘blood diamonds’.1 Initially this caused a spike in production costs because of having to import from more expensive sources but once more dealers within the United States (the largest consumer of diamonds) participated in this program, prices balanced again. Today it is officially illegal for any diamond dealer to import ‘blood diamonds’ under the Clean Diamond Trade Act of 2003 signed by then president George W. Bush.
It takes one person to identify a problem and another to improve upon a solution
Another example that is closer to home is the Nice Ride Minnesota program. The program began as an effort to improve the health of the citizens of Minneapolis and St.Paul through exercise. It was identified that obesity was on the rise and needed to be addressed. With a start-up fund of $3.2 million from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the City of Minneapolis, and a federal grant the program launched on June 10, 2010 with a huge success (10,000 users) in its first month.2 Prior to the start of the program bikers, although common in the urban environment, were restricted to riding in the street along with cars. With the enormous success of the program (as of November 4, 2012 there was a ridership of 274, 045)2 the City has now implemented infrastructure (neon green bike lanes) to support non-motorized transportation. To put this in perspective one company was able to morph the urban landscape of the Twin Cities in a period of under two years! Think about if Patagonia enables this kind of change on a world wide scale with their tracking system as the author notes. I wholly agree that this product could lead to becoming more sustainable on the global level.
3. grzyw004. Tracking Accountability. Arch 3150. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. November 29, 2012. Blog