This is the most sustainable, transparent and eco-aware company I have reviewed thus far. Patagonia is striving to work to mitigate the climate crisis and reduce their ecological footprint as much as possible. Their goals are similar to what we review here at Voiz and I have never had an easier way to review a product. All of the information in this review pre-existed already on the product website. This is also the most sustainably made wetsuit on the market... Can it get much better? 3/3 Planets.
Previously last week, I did a review on Rip Curl’s Flashbomb wetsuit which is a high end wetsuit in the surf industry. With that being said, in this Patagonia wetsuit review, it will be interesting to compare and contrast the two suits. Patagonia is known to be a very transparent company and aware of their environmental impacts. The R3 Yulex wetsuit is Patagonia’s top of the line highest performance wetsuit. In 2016, Patagonia was the first company ever to go 100% neoprene free in the making of their wetsuits. Instead Patagonia developed a natural rubber called “Yulex” which is now the base polymer in all of their suits. According to Patagonia, natural rubber is produced by hevea trees that absorb carbon that absorb carbon throughout their lifespan. As opposed to using neoprene (a synthetic rubber), Yulex reduces Co2 emissions by 80% as most neoprene suits are deprived from fossil fuel extraction and limestone. Additionally, the suit is made with polyester fiber from recycled based plastic bottles, reducing Co2 emissions by 59% compared to using virgin polyester fiber.
The Yulex natural rubber performs just as well as neoprene and is produced by hevea trees. However, Patagonia notes that hevea is a “cash crop.” For this reason, many rainforests have been slashed and burned, waterways drained and diverted, and toxic defoliants used to remove native ground cover. Despite this, when Patagonia switched to natural rubber they partnered with the Forest stewardship Council, to ensure that their hevea was only sourced from plantations that preserved biodiversity and ecological integrity.
The supplier of all of Patagonia’s wetsuit are by Sheico in Thailand Co. Patagonia claims they work with this supplier because of their liability in safety, working conditions and good environmental responsibility. To mitigate the ecological footprints in manufacturing and supply chain. Patagonia has certified this wetsuit with Fair-trade. By doing so, Patagonia ensures that labor workers are provided with tangible benefits that can improve their lives and live comfortably. Every product that is fair trade certified by Patagonia receives a premium that goes directly to the workers and they have control over it themselves. Patagonia states that over 66,000 workers are supported by this program. There are now up to 20 factories that specialize in outdoor apparel that are fair trade certified, according to Patagonia.