By Yvon Chouinard
I don’t like to think of myself as a businessman. I’ve made no secret that I hold a fairly skeptical view of the business world. That said, Patagonia, the company my wife and I founded four decades ago, has grown up to be — by global standards — a medium-size business. And that bestows on our family a serious responsibility. The last line of Patagonia’s mission statement is “… use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” We’ve always taken that seriously.
Three examples: Every year for 30 years, Patagonia has donated one percent of its sales to grassroots environmental organizations. We helped initiate the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an organization of companies that produces more than a third of the clothing and footwear on the planet. In a very short time, the Coalition has launched an index of social and environmental performance that designers (and eventually consumers) can use to make better decisions when developing products or choosing materials. And last year we became one of California’s first B Corps (benefit corporations), which means that the values that helped make our company successful are now etched into our legal charter.