More Water for the Fish


By Adam Fetcher.

Patagonia recently announced a partnership with CO2Nexus, Inc., a company that has developed a sustainable method of processing (cleaning, disinfecting and coating) textiles and garments using liquid carbon dioxide – using zero water, consuming less energy and generating very little waste.

The announcement marks a significant investment made by Patagonia through its $20 Million & Change fund, launched in 2013 to help innovative, like- minded startup companies bring about solutions to the environmental crisis through business.

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“Quite simply, processing textiles and apparel requires huge amounts of energy and water – and both are in crisis,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. “CO2Nexus is a great fit for $20 Million & Change – it’s a young company using business and innovation to bring about positive benefits to the environment.”


Photo courtesy Patagonia.
Photo courtesy Patagonia.

CO2Nexus’ unique system, called TERSUS®, can process textiles using the same CO2 that provides fizz to beverages. It’s fast, with 20-30 minute cycle times, and requires no separate dryer – conserving significant energy as a result.

Outdoor and other apparel items processed with the TERSUS® system emerge with minimal impact compared to traditional water or solvent-based cleaning methods. Over the course of repeated washes, benefits include down loft enhancement, water repellency, and color/size/fit consistency.




Traditional textile processing methods are extremely water and energy intensive, consuming up to 100 gallons of water or more for every pound of textile processed, according to industry analysis. That translates to hundreds of billions of gallons of water in the U.S. alone, and trillions worldwide. Most textile processing today is concentrated today in regions globally where water quality is low, which puts even greater strain on already scarce drinking water supplies.

$20 Million & Change – a holding company for the environment – was created in 2013 as an extension of one core tenant of Patagonia’s mission statement: to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Through investments in startups that share this value, Patagonia will help entrepreneurs and innovators succeed in “working with nature rather than using it up,” as Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard put it when announcing the investment platform last year.