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|Private benefit corporation|
|Headquarters||Ventura, California, U.S.|
|Yvon Chouinard, founder|
Doug Freeman, Interim CEO
|Revenue||$209.09M (2017 estimate)|
Number of employees
|1000 (As of 2017[update])|
Yvon Chouinard, an accomplished rock climber, began selling hand forged mountain climbing gear in 1957 through his company Chouinard Equipment. He worked alone selling his gear until 1965 when he partnered with Tom Frost in order to improve his products and address the growing supply and demand issue he faced.
Great Pacific Iron Works, Patagonia's first store, opened in 1973 in the former Hobson meat-packing plant at Santa Clara St, in Ventura, near Chouinard's blacksmith shop. In 1981, Patagonia and Chouinard Equipment were incorporated within Great Pacific Iron Works. In 1984, Chouinard changed the name of Great Pacific Iron Works to Lost Arrow Corporation.
Patagonia has expanded its product line to include apparel targeted towards other sports, such as surfing. In addition to clothing, they offer other products such as backpacks, sleeping bags, and camping food.
Starting in April 2017, certain Patagonia merchandise that is in good condition can be returned for new merchandise credits. The used merchandise gets cleaned and repaired and sold on their "Worn Wear" website.
Patagonia commits 1% of its total sales to environmental groups, through One Percent for the Planet, an organization of which Yvon Chouinard was a founding member. One Percent for the Planet encourages businesses to commit 1% of their annual net revenue to nonprofit charity organizations focused on conservation and sustainability. In 2016, Patagonia took this initiative to the next level and pledged to contribute 100% of sales from Black Friday to environmental organizations, totaling $10m.
Patagonia takes part in corporate social responsibility, through many different ways. They make donations from part of their profits, and take internal sustainability action and raise awareness around environmental concerns and issues. Their mission statement and "reason for being" is: "At Patagonia, we appreciate that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it."
In 2012, Patagonia became a Certified B Corporation, making it a for profit company that meets “rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency” The company was the first to be registered as a benefit corporation in the State of California, after the California Corporations Code were revised setting new specific requirements.
Patagonia is founded in the saying “cause no unnecessary harm” meaning that they acknowledge that by producing anything, harm is caused, but they are committed to doing all it can to reduce that harm.
The company is based on four core values. These are: “1) Quality: Pursuit of ever‐greater quality in everything we do; 2) Integrity: Relationships built on integrity and respect; 3) Environmentalism: Serve as a catalyst for personal and corporate action; and 4) Not Bound by Convention: Our success—and much of the fun—lies in developing innovative ways to do things.” In 2006, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, outlines the company's environmental philosophy in his book: “Lead an examined life; Clean up our own life; Do our penance; Support civil democracy; and Influence other companies” (p. 200). And over the years, they have done just that and have embarked on several sustainability initiatives.
Patagonia has taken a variety of initiatives through the years. This includes: reusing a variety of materials from discarded clothes, unsold items from previous collections, and the waste from fabric cuts. In addition, Patagonia is committed to designing classic products that are long lasting and don’t go out of style before being worn out. Following this initiative, they created the “Seedling” collection for children, manufactured from the waste of fabric cuts, which has garnered considerable success.
Politics and land preservation
In February 2017, Patagonia led a boycott of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, which traditionally took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, because of the Utah state legislature's introduction of legislation that would transfer federal lands to the state. Patagonia also opposed Utah Governor Gary Herbert request that the Trump administration revoke the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah. After several companies joined the Patagonia-led boycott, event organizer Emerald Expositions said it would not accept a proposal from Utah to continue hosting the Outdoor Retailer trade show and would instead move the event to another state.
On December 6, 2017, Patagonia sued the United States Government and President Donald Trump for his proclamations of reducing the Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost 50%. Patagonia is suing over the interpretation of the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution in which the country vests Congress with the power to manage federal lands. The company's CEO, Rose Marcario, contends that when Congress passed the Antiquities Act of 1906, it did not give any president the power to reverse a prior president's monument designations.
In June 2018, the company announced that it would donate the $10 million it received from President Trump's 2017 tax cuts to "groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis."
Facebook ad boycott
In July 2020, Patagonia Inc will suspend its advertising on Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Facebook's photo-sharing app, Instagram, making it the latest company to enter a U.S. civil rights boycott movement. Several U.S. civil rights organizations launched the Stop Hate for Profit campaign last week which said the social network was doing too little to curb hate speech on their sites.
In 2012, UK animal activist group Four Paws said that Patagonia used live-plucked down feathers and downs of force-fed geese. In a statement on their website, Patagonia denied use of live-plucking but said it had used down procured from the foie-gras industry. As of fall 2014, Patagonia said it was using 100% traceable down to ensure that birds were not force-fed or live-plucked and that down is not blended with down from unknown sources.
In February 2005, Patagonia's sourcing of wool from Australia was criticized by PETA over the practice of mulesing. Patagonia has since moved its sourcing of wool from Australia to South America and the cooperative Ovis 21. However, in August 2015 PETA released new video footage showing how sheep were treated cruelly in Ovis 21 farms. This led Patagonia to stop sourcing wool from Ovis 21.
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- If Patagonia’s business model is a paragon of virtue, should more companies follow suit?
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