I decided to look into Patagonia. A popular brand here at Bucknell, I have heard that the company is very environmental and ethical. Patagonia is considered an ethosolution organization. If many of you don’t know what this means like I did, the definition is “Organizations that are conscious and conscientious in their business practices, values, mission, and desire for win relationships with each other, humanity, and our planet are ethosolutions. They are defined by integrity, transparency, and clearly forward-thinking goals with consideration for their actions and interrelationship and interdependence with all things.”

The company has green products and they donate either 1% of their total sales or 10% of their profits, whichever is more, to grassroots environmental groups all over the world. They have won the Sustainability Lifetime Achievement Award, Business Ethics Award and they are a Fair Labor Association accredited company due to their socially responsible, ethical and safe working environments.  They’ve launched the common threads initiative (video below), they co-founded 1% For the Planet which is an alliance of businesses that commit to the same 1% donation, they started he World Trout Initiative which protects endangered fish through grants, and finally they started Our Common Waters campaign which is about balancing human water use with the needs to animals and plants.

I mean, seriously, what else do you need to be a stakeholder-focused company? I know they focus more on the environment, but their employees are also treated well and their business plan is not solely concerned on making the most profit. As seen by the other companies being discussed, a lot of outdoors companies are similarly concerned with the environment but I think Patagonia is a great example of a stakeholder-focused company that still creates a profit for its shareholders.

Video of common threads initiative: http://video.patagonia.com/video/Common-Threads-Initiative-2

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7 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    Are you still echoing an either-or approach here? Patagonia does not necessarily take away from shareholders to do more for stakeholders. The maximization of stakeholder value is the way to profit.

    Having said that, is Patagonia publicly traded?

  2. Jordi says:

    WHAT IS THAT SONG?!?!

  3. Matt says:

    I knew Patagonia was all about the environment, I guess I just never bothered to check the extent at which they are committed to being green. I must say, that is an impressive list. It’s good to see a company like them do so well and reach so many people too; Patagonia is renowned not only for extremely high-quality performance wear, but also because they are such a responsible company. I’d be curious to know what some of these grassroots environmental groups are and the impact they are having as well. If it is as effective as they advertise it to be, I think that if people saw this growing network of companies and interest groups all contributing to the same cause it could really inspire them, and maybe catch on in other sectors that don’t currently have that level of organization. A lot of companies nowadays are all about being green, but I think this model could be applied to a lot of different areas and causes.

  4. Charles says:

    It weird, I am from California and I never heard of Patagonia until I came to Bucknell. Its pretty cool how they are so stakeholder focused yet still remain profitable. It makes more sense that they clothing is a little more upscale from average clothing that I buy, since they donate some of their profit. I imagine the only way companies like Patagonia and Tom’s make a profit is by finding a target market that is willing to pay a little more for their product. Once they find that market they are to able to remain profitable and still liberally donate.

    • Jordi says:

      Good point. I am waiting for “discount” companies that also can deliver this kind of stakeholder-total management. Although I don’t think CHipotle’s is that upscale, is it?

  5. Jordi says:

    More from Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.

    http://www.greenbiz.com/video/2013/03/01/patagonia-responsible-company?src=rhblk

    Could not find an embedable version…

  6. Steph P. says:

    I’m also from California and had never heard of Patagonia until I got to Bucknell. Until I read your post, I had a negative view of the brand. I related it to Vineyard Vines, another “Bucknell Brand” and assumed the company charged abnormally high prices for no real reason. Your research on the company (as well as my own after reading yours) really opened my eyes to understand the reasoning behind the costly brand name: In order to give back as much as they do while making profit, they would have to keep their prices higher than normal (just as Charles suggested TOMS did). I also went onto Glassdoor.com (http://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm) to read employee reviews about the company, since employees are an important stakeholder. Most of the comments I read say that Patagonia is a “Truly green company with many benefits to employees (day care, free healthcare, organic cafe)”, and that “Most of the people working at Patagonia are passionate about the company’s stated mission and vision”.

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