• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Patagonia : a leading sustainable company


December 15th, 2020


Outdoor clothing company Patagonia is one of the best examples of Sustainability Leadership. You just have to visit their web page to "feel" the harmony of the ecosystem where suppliers, employees, customers, local communities, all embracing the same Purpose: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet". For the past 45 years, Patagonia has been a business at the cutting edge of environmental activism, sustainable supply chains, and advocacy for public lands and the outdoors. Its mission has long been “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” and lasted until last December, when they decided to make it even more crystal clear and announced the new Purpose stated above. Last public intervention was another clear example of a growing trend - CEO's speaking up on issues that affect all of us (in this case, all Americans): CEO Rose Marcario wrote in her Linkedin page, “Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year. We are responding by putting $10 million back into the planet because our home needs it more than we do.” She sees any corporate gain from the latest corporate tax cut as dirty money. “Taxes protect the most vulnerable in our society, our public lands and other life-giving resources. In spite of this, the Trump administration initiated a corporate tax cut, threatening these services at the expense of our planet.” Other examples of Sustainability decisions include:

  • Black Friday advertisement telling consumers not to engage in empty consumption by purchasing its jackets.

  • Launched a program called “Worn Wear,” which allows customers to pay for repairs to old items or trade them in for store credit. In fact its founder Yvon Chouinard used to say that “he sells a jacket but he stills feels responsible for it until the end”. Meaning, “don’t throw it away, we will recycle, reuse it, whatever, as long as it does not end in landfill”.

  • A day off for employees to go and vote on Election Day.

And if are wondering about financial results, here they go: 1bn$ sales,14% compound growth and tripled bottom line in last eight years. As someone from Wall Street said, "It is hard not to love Patagonia". ​​​​​​​Have a great and impactful week! Nuno Moreira da Cruz Director of the Center for Responsible Business and Leadership Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics