The Essence of Patagonia

Updated: Apr 27, 2019


Patagonia, Inc. Employees in Ventura, California

History


Founder: Yvon Chouinard

City: Headquarters in Ventura, California

Year founded: 1973


Business Mission and Vision: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.


Sustainability Mission and Vision: Learn more about our reason for being, the struggle to become a responsible company and how our business affects global environmental issues like global warming.


Products: sustainable outdoor retail


B Corp


Patagonia works to balance purpose and profit as a certified Benefit Corporation legally required to consider the impact of decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. There are 2,655 B Corp companies in 150 countries in 60 nations with 1 underlying goals that is being a force for good. Other companies include Hootsuite, Ben & Jerry's, Kickstarter, and Eileen Fisher. (Check out Patagonia's B Impact Report)


Fair Trade Certified


Patagonia has the most Fair Trade certified products than any other company. From wet suits to fleece, and organic cotton. (Check out more)


Corporate Governance


“If you are designing things that people want, you are too late.” - Director of Culture Chipper Bro


In a phone call with Chipper Bro he implies that consumer demand has major flaws. There is a paradigm of "needs" and "wants", where marketing tailors large chunks of net revenue towards gathering information on their target market segments. Businesses today have tainted consumers' perspective of their true needs that are concocted from consumer wants. There is now a fine line between needs and wants, and too often that line blurs into an overlap. This is where Patagonia's mission and vision for environmental benefits and net-positive emissions change the landscape of business operations.


Sustainability & Regenerative Processes


When Founder and Owner Yvon Chouinard began training to rappel down cliffs as a kid, he found a new fascination for the environment. Chouinard became a self-taught blacksmith at a young age and designed his own chrome-molybdenum steel pitons, which later he redesigned into aluminum chocks. This being his introduction to the business world.


Becoming the benchmark to the Patagonia success were the two seemingly polar opposite worlds of environment and business. Chouinard began creating his world through climbing, ski and snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, trail running, and mountain biking.


Patagonia became a living and breathing entity that channels Chouinard's early childhood so that all products would align with sustainability and regenerative processes to make as little damage to the earth as possible. Patagonia uses recycled polyester in their clothing lines. All cotton is 100% organic instead of pesticide-intensive.


Supply Chain


Patagonia's supply chain is focused on promoting rigorous standards for health and safety, respect for the environment, no child labour or enforced labour, maternity and paid leave, community empowerment with additional money given back to workers at Fair Trade Certified manufacturing plants.


“From lighting stores to dyeing shirts, creates pollution as a by-product.”


Patagonia has developed an ecological integrity in their business strategy, a holistic approach to incorporating the environment with business activity.


According to the earliest classification of ecology, “The science of living organisms to the external world, their habitat, customs, energies, parasites, etc.” German-born biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist, Ernst Haeckel


Haeckel was famously known for naming thousands of species, and there seems to be a correlation between key ecology forerunners and businesses like Patagonia. That correlation drives the steps that companies are taking to become more sustainable and implement regenerative processes into their supply chain.


Activism


"If you believe that public lands should remain public, you have to fight for it." -Patagonia Founder and Owner Yvon Chouinard


Patagonia has cultivated activists for the environment. Employees and customers are invited to stay true to core values in environmental and social responsibility, derived from the Triple Bottom-Line of sustainability which is environment, social, and business. Patagonia has protested dams in hopes of dam removal and they have protested the elimination of the need for crude oil.


Key Figures


  • 1% for the Planet – one percent of net revenues given back to non-profit organizations that are focused on environmental initiatives

  • $89M donated to environmental work

  • 985 grant proposals funded for environmental organizations

  • 500 employees involved with environmental organizations

  • $445,000 toward legal aid on environmental initiatives

  • $2.5M donated to protect public lands


Check out this list of Patagonia links


Patagonia website

Patagonia Ambassadors

The Footprint Chronicles

Patagonia's Benefit Report 2017

Patagonia's Environmental and Social Initiatives 2017



Joshua David Joseph is our founder and main contributor at Sustainability: Through The Looking Glass. He is passionate about global business, sustainability, and culture. Find more from Josh on our members page.

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