Patagonia celebrates 50 years of Business Unusual
Written By: SportsShoes
It’s time to ditch growth for growth’s sake.
Let’s make things that last longer.
And do more with what we already have.
Let’s find joy in protecting the land and waters that have always nurtured us.
And revel in their beauty, open spaces, magic.
Together, we can support communities in harm’s way, and save this wondrous, resilient planet, our only home.
We’re all in. You?
What’s next is unstoppable.
Next is saving our home planet.
The Patagonia 50th Manifesto
Photo credit: M Fredriksson
Patagonia turns 50 this year and the outdoor apparel company that was started by a self-taught blacksmith is focused on what’s next. Any hope of a thriving planet—much less a thriving business—is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. At Patagonia, that means being in business to save our home planet and having a lot of fun along the way.
PATAGONIA'S FIVE CORE VALUES
In 2022, Patagonia updated its core values to reflect the company they want to be as it embarks on the next 50 years.
Build the best product, provide the best service and constantly improve everything we do. The best product is useful, versatile, long-lasting, repairable and recyclable. Our ideal is regenerative products that give back to the earth as much as they take.
Examine our practices openly and honestly, learn from our mistakes and meet our commitments. We value integrity in both senses: that our actions match our words (we walk the talk), and that all our work contributes to a functional whole (our sum is greater than our parts).
Protect our home planet. We’re all a part of nature, and every decision we make is in the context of the environmental crisis challenging humanity. We work to reduce our impact, share solutions, and embrace regenerative practices. We partner with grassroots organizations and frontline communities to restore lands, air and waters to a state of health; to arrest our addiction to fossil fuels; and to address the deep connections between environmental destruction and social injustice.
Be just, equitable and antiracist as a company and in our community. We embrace the work necessary to create equity for historically marginalised people and reorder the priorities of an economic system that values short-term expansion over human well-being and thriving communities. We acknowledge painful histories; confront biases; change our policies; and hold each other accountable. We aspire to be a company where people from all backgrounds, identities and experiences, can be their whole selves and have the power to contribute and lead.
5. NOT BOUND BY CONVENTION
Do it our way. Our success—and much of the fun—lies in developing new ways to do things.
We take a look at what's been achieved and at the work that lies ahead, to put the planet and people over profit:
Since its founding, Patagonia has remained committed to building quality products and doing less harm to the planet.
Here are 10 pivotal moments that demonstrate how Patagonia has prioritised the planet over profit:
- Changing our business model to protect the places we love by switching from pitons to chocks for alpine climbing (1972)
- Giving our first environmental grant to a nonprofit that helped save a local surf break (1972), which led us to start giving away 1% of annual sales (1985) and co-found 1% For the Planet (2002)
- Switching from conventional cotton to organic cotton after formaldehyde sickened our employees (1996)
- Placing the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad on Black Friday (2011)
- Becoming the first certified B Corporation in California (2012)
- Establishing Patagonia Provisions (2012)
- Finding new ways to give back to the planet: Donating 100% of our Black Friday sales to environmental nonprofits (2016)
- Suing the Trump administration to protect Bears Ears National Monument (2017)
- We are in business to save our home planet becomes our new purpose (2018)
- Changing our ownership model: Earth is now our only shareholder (2022)
Photo credit: S Koseki
“We’re standing capitalism on its head: The full value of Patagonia is now going to fight the environmental crisis. Our one and only shareholder is our home planet. .”
Yvon Chouinard - Patagonia Founder
Over the next 50 years, Patagonia will relentlessly focus on quality—quality products, quality connections to nature, quality capitalism. Move away from things that hold us back—more collaboration instead of competition, especially as we tackle existential crises like climate change.
Together, we’ll answer the hardest questions: Can capitalism evolve? What does quality capitalism look like? How can we better rally our community to address the root causes of the climate and ecological crisis? Who are the unexpected partners that will join along the way?
Patagonia is turning 50 and is focused on what’s next.
We’re in business to save our home planet. Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. As a certified B Corporation and a founding member of 1% for the Planet, the company is recognized internationally for its product quality and environmental activism, as well as its contributions of nearly $200 million to environmental organizations. Its unique ownership structure reflects that Earth is its only shareholder: Profits not reinvested back into the business are paid as dividends to protect the planet.