by Michael dEstries
Categories: Lifestyle.

patagonia

Let the business fallouts begin.

With SIGG finally coming clean about their pre-August 2008 bottles containing the potentially-harmful chemical BPA (bisphenol A), the ramifications of their decision to not let the public know sooner are coming to light. The latest blow from outdoor retail giant Patagonia, who announced today a “termination of all co-branding and co-marketing efforts with SIGG, Inc.” Apparently, the company is feeling the burn after they did thorough research on alternatives to reusable bottles containing BPA, and proudly included SIGG after reassurances from the company that their products were clean.

“We did our homework on the topic of BPA, going all the way back to 2005 when this subject first emerged in discussions in scientific journals” Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia’s VP of environmental initiatives states. “We even arranged for one of the leading scientists on BPA research to come to our company to educate us on the issue. Once we concluded there was basis for concern, we immediately pulled all drinking bottles that contained BPA from our shelves and then searched for a BPA-free bottle. We very clearly asked SIGG if there was BPA in their bottles and their liners, and they clearly said there was not. After conducting such thorough due diligence, we are more than chagrined to see the ad that is appearing in Backpacker, but we also feel that with this explanation our customers will appreciate and understand our position.”

The ad in question shows Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder and owner, holding a SIGG bottle with a 1% for the Planet logo on it. After hearing about the SIGG BPA scandal, the company attempted to remove the ads from running in Backpacker and Outside magazine — but were only successful with the latter.

Adding insult to injury, Patagonia is returning all SIGG bottles still on their shelves (even those post-August 2008 that do not contain BPA) back to the company for recycling and are searching for a new bottle vendor. If you’ve bought one from them in the past, they will also dish out a full refund.

Yikes. Who’s next?

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • http://www.twolia.com/blogs/livin-veg/ Livin Veg

    Wow. I was unhappy with Sigg before but after this news, I’m downright angry. I can’t believe they totally lied outright to Patagonia.

    I will say that knowing how thorough Patagonia is, I now support them even more. Their sports bras are amazing btw.

    My husband and I returned our Sigg’s to the Whole Foods in White Plains and picked out new ones. No paper work to fill out. Just an exchange at the customer service booth. Sigg is going to lose lots of money and customer respect from this. I’ll use my Sigg for now, but if it’s ever lost or severely damaged I won’t be buying another one. Never trust a company that lies.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1409375816 mary

      i’m so angry!!! when i first wanted to eliminate as much plastics from my childrens life due to toxins and also for the fact of our poor planet, i turned to sigg. and i knew it, i was so suspicious of that lining and the fact that the bottle themselves were made out of aluminium, not to mention the lining peels. i’m pissed, you outlay a fortune to buy these bottles, which i have 8, only to know that they aren’t safe at all. i’m gonna send them back…. mary (adelaide, australia)

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  • LMA

    I can’t believe Patagonia is only now coming to this realization. It has been well known in the industry *all along* that SIGG refused to disclose whether or not there was BPA in their bottles, and the very fact that they refused to say yes or no made it pretty obvious that the answer had to be “yes.” I’ve been in the outdoor retail industry for decades and this is no news to me — and it couldn’t honestly have been news to Ridgeway. Is SIGG guilty of dissembling? Absolutely. But so is Patagonia. They carried SIGG like the all the other retailers did because their bottles had cool designs and weren’t plastic, and to the average consumer “not plastic” equated to “no BPA.”

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  • http://elephantjournal.com Waylon Lewis

    LMA, we might being a little hindsight-harsh. Treehugger looked into SIGG in depth, and gave them a thumbs up, highest rating.

    Thanks for the blog, Michael!

  • http://supresmooth.livejournal.com Victor

    I still don’t understand how they didn’t know. It is metal coated in plastic just like a soda can. It’s the same stuff. How can you not see that with your eyes?

  • LMA

    However Treehugger came to that conclusion doesn’t change the fact that whenever *any* retailer or consumer asked SIGG what was in the bottles, they were very particular in their reply of saying it was “safe” while dodging all questions of BPA or what else exactly they were using to line their bottles. Basically, SIGG knew if they confessed outright to BPA, they’d be forced to do a massive recall and after a delay as they tested and retested alternative materials would eventually have come out with a new product the way Nalgene had to. OTOH, if they hedged and hawed and never quite answered the question while holding up pretty bottles with multicolored fashionable designs and said “look, these are metal, not plastic” they could stand to gain greatly at Nalgene’s misfortune. Which is exactly what they did. But you know, taking advantage of another corporation’s mistake, when it’s the SAME materials mistake your company has been hiding, those kinds of things come around to bite you in the end.

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  • http://none paul

    I guess everyone should scrap aluminum and go with a bottle made of food grade stainless steel. Nathan makes one as does a few other companies. Aluminum is bad for you, period.

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  • kelsey

    Go klean kanteen :)