In today’s society, there are many companies to choose from when it comes to shopping, but what lies behind them? Not only is Patagonia considered one of the top companies in the field of technical sportswear, but it also has a history like no other that inspires and revolutionises business thinking.
Patagonia is considered to be a pioneer and one of the leading companies in CSR and is based in Ventura, California.
Founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, an environmentally conscious entrepreneur, the company has grown from making tools for climbers to being a global leader in sustainability.
Throughout its entire operation, the company’s commitment to the natural world runs like a mantra, from the products and materials it uses to donating money to environmental causes.
Founder Yvon Chouinard set out to build what he called an “un-company” — one whose principal concern was taking care of employees, customers, and, above all else, the planet.
The company’s ethos of sustainable development is reflected in its business practices, which are credited with fostering a concern for the environment among consumers.
Known for its commitment to the environment and for its controversial and innovative campaigns, Patagonia has gained widespread recognition among consumers.
Since 1985, promoting its 1% for the planet campaign, Patagonia has pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Patagonia has awarded over $140 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.
1% for the Planet is an alliance of businesses founded by Yvon Chouinard in 2002, that understand the necessity of protecting the natural environment.
For its continual commitment to sustainability and advocacy for the protection of the earth’s fragile resources, Patagonia was recognized in 2019 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as a recipient of its entrepreneurial vision award called “Champions of the Earth”.
Patagonia’s social responsibilities campaigns are multifaceted and have an impact on a community, environmental and activist level.
Patagonia’s Corporate Social Responsibility vision consists of two main components: Environmental conservation and restoration and as stated on its website, Patagonia’s mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.“
My favourite campaigns are “Don’t buy this jacket” which is part of Common Threads’ garment recycling program and Patagonia’s Fair-Trade program, which has impacted more than 64,000 workers worldwide.
Through the Common Threads Garment Recycling Program, Patagonia will collect worn-out, old Capilene base layer garments from customers in order to recycle the garments into new filament yarns that will be used to make new polyester (PET) and this marks the latest milestone in their history of innovation.
Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” campaign, not only added a voice to the shopping conversation but love it or not, made a bold and opinionated statement suggesting customers not to buy what they don’t need and recycle instead.
Using the ECOCIRCLE™ recycling system from Teijin, a progressive fabric manufacturer in Japan, Patagonia’s old Capilene garments will be broken down to make new polyester fibres.
Among the lowest-paid professions on earth are apparel workers and the apparel industry generally.
In addition to not owning any factories that make their products, Patagonia has limited control over wages.
In its Fair Trade program, Patagonia provides an array of benefits that enhance the lives of workers and pays a premium for every item that carries the Fair Trade Certified™ sewn label. That extra money goes directly to the workers at the factory, and they decide how to spend it.
As a company, Patagonia is one that not only inspires me but also proves that even in a world that is all about money and profit, values still exist and having a purpose in life is more important than accumulating material things.