Featured Green Business: Patagonia

In my last blog I wrote about consumption around the holiday season and mentioned buying from sustainable companies like Patagonia. So I figured in this issue I would delve a little more into Patagonia’s environmental protection views.


To start let’s briefly go over a little of Patagonia’s history. The company was originally founded by a rock climber name Yvon Chouinard, who made climbing equipment. Even in the 1960’s when he first started making climbing equipment, Chouinard and his business partner Tom Frost focused on making “clean” gear that left no impact on nature. Fast forward to present day and you’ll see Patagonia is still a leader in sustainability and enjoying the outdoors. The company now makes gear not only for rock climbing, but also for skiers, surfers and many students at Miami University, who love to sport their comfy fleeces.

Patagonia currently supports a variety of environmental campaigns, some of which include the Gulf Crisis due to the 2010 BP oil spill, Freedom to Roam, Visions of the Arctic and Oceans and Wilderness. Not only does Patagonia have these issues all over their website, but they are also sending employees to these areas around the world to directly see, impact and benefit these campaigns.

In addition to supporting environmental issues, Patagonia is also trying to decrease their own impact on the world’s resources. By implementing their “Common Threads Initiative,” Patagonia has made a promise to reduce, by telling customers not to buy what they don’t need, reuse, by asking consumers to donate or sell their used Patagonia items, and recycle, by sending their items back to Patagonia where they are reengineered into new fabric.

Another huge Patagonia pledge is called 1% for the Planet, where the company gives 1% of their sales to help preserve and restore the natural environment. Since 1985 the company has donated over $46 million dollars to help with restoration.

Overall this company pretty much blows me away. According to the article, Synchilla to School Support by Lisa Gardiner, Patagonia is so sustainable because it does not promote unmanaged growth, it delivers a high quality product, and is willing to take risks. Although it’s understandable that every company cannot be like Patagonia, can we not have businesses look to this organization as a model for sustainability and success? Patagonia is consistently profitable, yet environmentally conscious, two concepts that in my opinion should more often be intertwined.

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