巴塔哥尼亞公司創始人依方‧周依納德(下) | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

巴塔哥尼亞公司創始人依方‧周依納德(下)

建立於 2005/08/04
作者:阿曼達‧葛里康(Grist Magazine專欄作家);余書瑩譯;沈怡伶審校

依方又想到了什麼新點子了?(圖片來源:里克 里德衛)問:有哪幾位企業領導者是你所欽佩的?

答:說實在的,我已經很久沒有跟美國的企業界有聯繫了,所以我無法回答這個問題。我不跟商業人士及總裁們密切來往;我與衝浪者跟老粗們稱兄道弟。我完全不屬於那一圈。

外面是有些有在做事的公司,如Stoneyfield Farm、Ben & Jerry's、Working Assets,反正就那幾家,但是某些情形中,他們是其他大企業下的產業,被大公司所擁有的。我不知道他們深層的運作是什麼情形。我不知道他們是否跟其他大企業一樣都在作帳時動手腳。然而,我並不覺得以豐田公司來說,他們運用蘇格拉底模式-即從問自己許多問題的過程中,找出解決方式-跟我們的目標會是相同的。他們問自己「5個為什麼」以追求目標;我認為如此可以達到卓越的境界。

問:你能描述一下你決定將巴塔哥尼亞帶向環境維護的方向所使用的蘇格拉底模式嗎?

答:大概在1990年左右,我們的公司成長速度是一年40%~50%,而我們完全依照教科書上的商業方法去進行-增加商人,增加產品數量,加蓋店面。讓他與一般的美國夢一樣,你知道的-就是成長、成長、成長。有一年,我們預測會有40%~50%的成長率,但遇上了經濟不景氣,我們的成長率便降到只有20%。同時,我們的銀行也快破產了,我們現金週轉上也出現了問題;那段時間對我們而言,有如地獄般難熬。而我是個一輩子也沒有用過信用貸款買東西的人。我一向是用現金買東西的,而當時被迫要打電話給某個人,並說:「對不起,我這個月無法繳帳單」令我非常痛苦。那時,我領悟到我跟社會上其他人走的是一樣的路-為成長而不停的成長。

此時,我決定採煞車,並以一個比較自然的速度成長-意思基本上是:除非我們的顧客要求我們增加某項產品的產量,我們不會不斷的製造,以至於達到飽和的狀態。我們不會在市區內部的公車上做廣告,引誘幫派少年穿黑色的羽絨依。基本上,我希望為需要這些衣服的人製造衣物,而不是給只想要穿這些衣服的人。

90年早期的那個危機解除了之後,我們啟動了一個檢討我們所有製造過程、衣料、纖維、及染料的環境評估計畫。我們問自己:這個是有毒的嗎?是否有更好的方法?我們決定這個公司應該要有自我檢討評估的能力。

問:你所做的改變中,哪一個是最麻煩的?

答:改用有機的棉花花了我們相當大的心力。當我發現在我們用來製造衣服的纖維中,棉花對環境的破壞是最大的,我便要求在18個月內公司所有產品皆不得使用工業生產的棉花。

但是,你並不能直接打電話給布料供給商說:「請給我10,000碼的有機襯衫布料。」我們必須改造整個工業。我們必須與要成立有機農場的農人們一起簽署,銀行才願意給貸款,因為銀行與化學製品公司有掛勾。我們必須說服棉花處理商要先清洗軋棉機,再處理我們的棉花。我們必須找到適當的製造商。這整個過程,真的相當浩大。但是,從此以後,我們從未使用工業生產的棉花製造任何一樣產品,而且效果非常好。這個改變使我們遠遠超過了與我們的競爭的廠商。

結果是,每一次因為我的信念,相信這麼做是對的,而下了一個決定,我最後總是賺了更多的錢。

問:短期內也是嗎?

答:第一年其實相當的不順。製造價格比以往多了20%,但是為了保持市場競爭,產品的售價我們只提高了5%。過程中,因為轉移速度不夠快,我們被迫停產許多產品。但現在一切都進行的很順利。我們也影響了許多其他的公司,例如Nike, Timberland, Mountain Equipment Co-op, prAna 等,都開始使用有機素材,而我們也會告訴他們可以從哪裡訂貨。其他例如GAP和Levi’s等較主流的廠牌,也開始趕上這股潮流。這麼做對我們有利,對農夫有利,也對那些願意承擔風險的製造商優利,增加他們的盈餘,也提高了對有機棉的需求。

依方馴服大浪。(圖片來源:巴塔哥尼亞公司)問:是否有任何你想執行的環保計畫,受阻於最後的成果無法進行?

答:我們完全不會受此限制。我們的阻礙是仍有許多技術還有待發明。例如,我們用回收的汽水瓶蓋製造許多產品,例如多元酯(polyester)和人造毛料。但是,這些瓶子本身的合成物中有種致癌的重金屬-銻。因此,我們正與製造商研究如何在製造纖維前,先將銻取出。而在生產線上,我們亦會試圖用可以完全、且不限次數被回收再利用的合成布料製造我們一部分的衣服。但是,我們的速度仍受限於工業是否也能跟著進步。

問:一個國際公司,因為必須運輸材料和產品而消耗大量的能源,是否對環保會有必然的折衷?

答:這的確使我們的經營更為複雜。

問:但這樣不是也會大量的增加環境的負擔嗎?讓你的產品國產化,不是更可行的嗎?

答:不,這是行不通的。我所有的產品都科以在國內生產,但我一定會迅速破產,成為一個被犧牲的烈士。但是,我們必須做的是使用對環境產生最少影響的運輸方式。最便宜、且能量使用最少的是海運,再來是火車,卡車,做後是空運。飛機比其他的運輸方式都來的浪費能源-跟其他的運輸方式根本不能相比。很多公司因為現金流的問題,只採用空運及火車運輸所有的產品。用這種方法,他們整批貨可以再兩三天內由工廠抵達倉庫,可以舒緩現金流的問題。但是我們不這麼做。我們要求我們的供應商都用海運把東西運給我們;雖然很慢,但可以減少能源的消耗量。

問:現在已經有越來越多所謂的環保產品問世,例如電池車、有機蔬果、太陽能板、可回收的外到等。但是,這樣是否給消費者一種可以靠買東西解決環境問題的錯誤訊息?

答:這是一個很好的問題,因為,首先,永續發展其實是不存在的。永續發展只有層次上的;那是一個過程,不是個確切的目標。你只能朝那個方向邁進。環保的經濟活動也是不存在的;我認為最接近的活動大概是及小規模的有機農業與狩獵、採集。至於製造業,所造成的廢棄物絕對比產多。永續發展是不可能的。事實就是如此。

問:所以就算是最好的狀況,我們也只能減緩自我毀滅的速度?

答:那已經是最好的辦法了-減慢我們對環境的破壞的速度。但花錢前消災這個想法是相當荒謬的。

問:我讀過一篇報導,上面寫說你的房子完全是用再生及可再生材料所建的。

答:這棟房子不會讓我覺得對不起良心。基本上,整棟房子我都是用再生材料建起來的。牆壁是被掀起的廢棄的人行道做的。屋頂上的瓦片和所有的木材都是回收再利用的。家具也是二手的。除了水電以外,所有的東西都是回收再利用的。因為牆壁有28 英吋厚,我不用冷氣或暖氣;家裡也完全採用太陽能。

問:你亦以身為一名熱切的登山家、釣魚家、和衝浪家著名。你能告訴我們你的戶外運動精神如何影響你的職業哲學嗎?

答:我一輩子都在玩所謂的冒險型運動。我不稱它們為極端運動。登山相當的危險。泛舟也很危險。我想,我所學到很重要的依各便是你不應該濫用你的資源。你試著在最危險的處境下生活,因為那個時候你最具價值-你真的豁出一切,並在最有效率的情況下運作-但你依舊必須小心,不過度縱容自己,因為如此會讓你掉入深淵,帶來你生命的終結。但是,我覺得對這個社會而言,我們已經掉進去了。我們現在的政府是我們應得的。政府就是我們鏡子,反映出我們變成的模樣。

問:你如何防止自己玩的太過火而掉入深淵中?

答:私人生活中,我是著把所有的東西都簡化。這是最難做到的事情。要把生活複雜化太容易了,但要把他簡化很不容易,不論是飲食上變的簡單或是不做沒有必要的消費,只買你需要的而不是你想要的東西。我們無時無刻的被拉往複雜的生活而背離儉樸。我真的覺得這是不對的。我時時刻刻都在奮戰。但是改變必須從我們個人開始。要不要探討自己的生命,過有意義的生活是只有個人才能決定的。

問:前幾天我吃了一個幸運煎餅,餅中的小紙條寫著:「簡璞是深思後的自然成果。」

答:這說明了一切。(全文完)

Don't Get Mad, Get Yvon
An interview with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard
BY AMANDA GRISCOM LITTLE; 22 Oct 2004

Q: Who are some corporate leaders that you admire?

A: To tell you the truth, I am so out of contact with corporate America that I can't say. I don't hang out with businessmen and CEOs. I hang out with surfers and dirtballs. I'm completely out of it.

There are some companies out there that are doing some things like Stonyfield Farm, Ben & Jerry's, Working Assets -- you know, the usual -- but then in some cases they're owned by a huge corporation. I don't know what they do really deep down. I don't know whether they're cooking the books like every other public corporation or not. I do think that Toyota as a company does the same thing we try to do by following the Socratic method, which is that you find your way to the solution of a problem by asking a lot of questions. They ask themselves the "5 whys" to reach their goals, which in my opinion builds excellence.

Q: Can you describe your Socratic process when you decided to take Patagonia in a sustainable direction?

A: It was back in 1990 or so and we were growing the company by 40 to 50 percent a year and we were doing it by all the textbook business ways -- adding more dealers, adding more products, building stores. Growing it like the American dream, you know -- grow, grow, grow. And one year we predicted 40 to 50 percent growth and there was a recession and all the sudden we only grew 20 percent. And at the same time, our bank was going belly-up and we had cash-flow problems and it went to absolute hell. And I had been the person who had never bought anything on credit in all my life. I always paid cash for everything, and to have to call someone and say, "I'm sorry, I can't pay my bills this month," was killing me. And I realized that I was on the same track as society was -- endless growth for the sake of growth.

That's when I decided to put the brakes on and decided to grow at a more natural rate -- which basically means that only when our customers want something do we make more, but we don't prime the pump. We don't advertise on buses in inner cities to get gang kids to wear black down jackets. I basically want to make clothing for people who need it rather than for people who want it.

Sometime after that crisis in the early '90s, we started an environmental-assessment program where we looked at all our processes and all our materials and fibers and dyes and asked the question: Is this toxic? Is there a better way to do it? We decided to lead an examined life as a company.

Q: What was the most cumbersome change that you had to make?

A: Switching over to organically grown cotton was a really big deal. Once I found out that cotton was the most damaging fiber that we could make clothing out of, I gave the company 18 months to completely get out of making any product with industrially grown cotton.

But you can't just call the fabric supplier and say, "Give me 10,000 yards of organic shirting." We had to revolutionize the industry. We had to co-sign loans for farmers because if they went organic they couldn't get a loan from the bank because the bank's tied in with the chemical companies. We had to convince gins to clean their cotton gins and then process our stuff. We had to find the right mills. It was a really big process. But we've never made a single product using industrially grown cotton since then and it's working out fantastic. It put us on a whole other level from our competitors.

And the bottom line is that every time I made the decision because it was the right thing to do, I've ended up making actually more money.

Q: Even in the short term?

A: For the first year it was rough. The product cost us about 20 percent more, but we only raised our prices about 5 percent just to stay in business. And we had to drop a lot of products because we couldn't switch over fast enough. But now it's working out great. And we're influencing lots of other companies to use organic cotton -- Nike, Timberland, Mountain Equipment Co-op, prAna -- and we tell them where to get it. Other mainstream brands like the Gap and Levi's are also picking up on the trend. It helps us, it helps the farmers, and it helps the mills that have taken the risk with us to be profitable and to create a demand for organic cotton.

Q: Are there any sustainable measures that you want to implement but you can't simply because your bottom line won't allow it?

A: We're not constrained by the bottom line at all. We're constrained by the fact that some technologies don't exist yet. Like we make a lot of products out of recycled soda-pop bottles -- polyester and fleece. Well, those bottles have a carcinogenic heavy metal, antimony, and we are working with the mills to take the antimony out before they make the fiber. And down the line we will try to make some of our clothing out of synthetics that can be completely -- and indefinitely -- recycled into new products. But we can only go as fast as industry goes along with us.

Q: Are there inevitable environmental tradeoffs to running a multinational company, given all the shipping and flying and energy-intensive transporting of goods?

A: It adds a certain complexity to your business, that's for sure.

Q: But doesn't it also add substantial environmental burden? Would it even be feasible to manufacture your products from domestic sources?

A: No, impossible. I could make everything domestically, but I would be out of business so fast I would become a martyr. But we do our best to use transportation methods with the least environmental impact. By far the cheapest and least energy-intensive method of transportation is by boat, then comes trains, then comes trucks, then comes airplanes. Airplanes are so much more wasteful than anything else -- there's no comparison. A lot of companies air-freight everything in because of cash-flow problems -- they can bring a whole shipment of something and have it from their factory to their warehouse in two to three days, and that really helps their cash-flow problems. But we don't do any of that. We have everything sent by boat from our suppliers slowly to cut down on energy consumption.

Q: We see an increasingly vast array of so-called green products -- hybrid cars, organic produce, solar panels, recyclable jackets. But is it dangerous to send consumers the message that they can buy their way out of our environmental problems?

A: That's a good question because, number one, there's no such thing as sustainability. There are just levels of it. It's a process, not a real goal. All you can do is work toward it. There's no such thing as any sustainable economy. The only thing I know that's even close to sustainable economic activity would be organic farming on a very small scale or hunting and gathering on a very small scale. And manufacturing, you end up with way more waste than you end up with finished product. It's totally unsustainable. It's just the way it is.

Q: So at best, we can slow down our march toward obsolescence.

A: That's the best we can do -- slow it down. But thinking that we can buy our way out of it is totally bogus.

Q: I read that your house is made completely of reused and recycled materials.

A: It's fairly guilt-free. I basically built the whole house of recycled materials. Busted-up sidewalks for the walls. The roof tiles are reused. All the wood is reused. All the furniture is used. All except the plumbing and electrical. Because the walls are 28 inches thick, I don't have to heat or cool it, and it's fully solar-powered.

Q: You are also known to be an avid alpinist, angler, and surfer. Can you tell us how your outdoorsmanship feeds your professional philosophy?

A: I've spent a lifetime doing so-called risk type sports. I don't call them extreme. Climbing is risky. Whitewater kayaking is risky. I think the one lesson you learn from that is that you don't exceed your resources. You try to live life on the edge, because that's when you get the most value -- you're really sticking your neck out, really working at optimum efficiency -- but you don't go over the edge because you die. And I think we're over the edge with society. Right now we have the government we deserve. They are absolutely a reflection of who we have become.

Q: In your own life, how do you avoid going over the edge?

A: In my own personal life, I'm trying to simplify everything, which is the hardest thing you can try to do. It's so easy to complicate your life, it's so hard to simplify it. Whether it's eating more simple food and not consuming, just buying the things you need rather than the things you want. We're constantly being pulled toward complexity rather than simplicity. And I think that's really wrong. I fight that all the time. But it has to start with each and every one of us to make change in our lives. It's up to each individual to lead an examined life.

Q: I got a fortune cookie the other day that said: Simplicity is the natural result of profound thought.

A: That says it all.

原文與圖片詳見:http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2004/10/22/little-chouinard/
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