We’ve long loved to don their gear and brave the elements of the backcountry. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more warm and fuzzy to Patagonia than their fluffy fleece.
The list is long. We can’t possibly detail everything this company does for the environment, the community and countless global citizens. Seriously, we thought about doing a bullet list and it was still too long.
Let’s start with the big guns – since 1985, Patagonia has donated 1 per cent of its sales to the preservation and restoration of nature. Does one percent seem small to you? Well, it’s added up to over $46 million. Bam.
Let’s get small – in 1993, Patagonia employees decided to give back to the little fishes in the little river next to their Ventura, California headquarters. They created an annual 5K fun run called the Salmon Run and every year they select a new local environmental non-profit to support. Bang.
Here’s the ‘everything in between’. Patagonia leads by example. That 1% for the Planet idea – that organization was created by Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard (along with Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies), to encourage more businesses to siphon off 1 per cent and donate it to environmental causes. There are now over 1250 organizations committed. Plus, Patagonia co-founded The Conservation Alliance in 1989, bringing outdoor industry big wigs (including their direct competitors) together to collectively support grassroots, environmental, citizen-action groups. Boom.
Employees at Patagonia aren’t just encouraged to embrace altruism; they are empowered to do it. There are a variety of programs available to them, but perhaps the most unique is their Internship Program where employees take a paid leave of up to 2 months to work for an environmental group. Kapow!
In addition to this program, employees can also get involved in the company’s bid to create a national park in Chilean Patagonia, numerous local programs or apply for a grant to fund a project of their own. Bew-bew-bew.
Before we conclude with the rapid fire kudos, we couldn’t leave off the non-environmental efforts that Patagonia makes. They were one of the first companies to gain their B Certification (meaning they’ve met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency). They’re also members of the Fair Factories Clearinghouse and the Fair Labor Association, proving their commitment to the planet includes people.
What more can we say? When it comes to altruism, Patagonia’s efforts are really just bang on.