To truly tackle the problem of plastic pollution, we need the involvement of industry. Companies need to dramatically minimize plastic use and source more sustainable materials in their packaging. And American clothing company prAna is doing just that with its Responsible Packaging Movement.
Plastic pollution has become one of the most urgent environmental issues throughout the world. Yet despite growing concerns, global production of plastic increased by 6 million tons between 2019 and 2021. Single-use plastic packaging is one of the main culprits, yet it offers only fleeting value to consumers.
With a mission to create clothing for positive change, prAna embarked on a journey to reduce the use of plastics from packaging in 2010.
“After countless hours, our roll-pack method was born,” said prAna’s sustainability and social impact manager, Ellen Johnson. “Think of it as folding clothing into fabric burritos, then securing it with a recyclable raffia tie. By 2018, over 80% of our products were being packaged with this method. And today, it’s still our number one plastic-reducing solution—which we happily share with brands in the Responsible Packaging Movement.”
Responsible Packaging Movement
prAna launched the Responsible Packaging Movement (RPM) in 2020 to promote sustainable packaging practices across the consumer goods industry. More than 150 like-minded brands have since joined, including Toad & Co, Outerknown, and nonprofit partners 5 Gyres and Canopy to help with education and advocacy. Some of the member brands have been featured on Earth911 for their sustainability initiatives, including Dr. Bronners, ettitude, and TenTree.
In addition to plastic, the company is working to eliminate the use of materials from ancient, endangered, or old-growth forests.
“RPM provides a blueprint for how brands can amplify their actions to reduce climate change by creating partnerships and openly sharing best practices in a non-competitive collaborative environment,” said prAna’s vice president of product, Brian Thompson.
When joining, companies set responsible packaging goals, which they share with prAna and their customers. Instead of seeing other brands as competition, the RPM embraces progress through partnerships and sharing knowledge.
“This movement started as a spark of an idea and has taken on a life of its own,” said Rachel K. Lincoln, director of sustainability at prAna. “In a few short months, we found ourselves surrounded with an incredible group of like-minded, global consumer brands from multiple industries. We’ve come together, focusing on collaboration over competition.”
The RPM has monthly webinars and roundtable discussions to explore ways to reduce waste and source more sustainable packaging materials. In addition, prAna provides a social media toolkit to help companies share their successes.
“Like most things in life, we’re better when we work together,” said Johnson. “The Responsible Packaging Movement was created in an effort to share our years’ worth of consolidated know-how with other brands looking to evolve their packaging as well. No matter where they are in their journey, all brands are welcome to join us. Our training manuals, education sessions, and 1:1 support are available to everyone.”
prAna: Apparel for Positive Change
By 2021, prAna hit its goal of eliminating plastic from retail packaging. To date, it has eliminated 20 million plastic bags from its supply chain. But its packaging progress isn’t what made the 30-year-old company a leader in sustainable and socially responsible fashion.
prAna partnered with Fair Trade USA in 2010 and now has 11 Fair Trade-certified factories, benefitting over 26,000 workers worldwide. Its renewed apparel program is keeping usable clothes out of landfills, and prAna uses preferred fibers, such as hemp, organic cotton, and recycled nylon.
For example, its Willow Falls Reversible top and Marta bottom feature ECONYL Recycled Nylon. The ReZion collection, including the Halle Jogger II, Halle Short II, and the Halle Pant Plus II, is made from recycled nylon and uses a PFAS-free, durable water-repellent coating.
Corporate Sustainability Collaboration
prAna is also a participant in some additional collaborative and voluntary sustainability initiatives. It is a founding member of the Outdoor Industry Association’s Climate Action Corps, where organizations commit to measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and sharing their progress annually. Likewise, it joined Textile Exchange’s 2025 Recycled Polyester Challenge, which calls on businesses to commit to sourcing from 45% to 100% of polyester from recycled sources by 2025.
Such initiatives bring businesses together to seek solutions, share best practices, and inspire action. Urgent environmental issues, such as plastic pollution and climate change, require cooperation and innovative actions to make significant advances. The RPM is an inspiring example of what companies can achieve when focusing on collaboration instead of competition.
Images courtesy of prAna.