Motivated by the U.S. election results, Patagonia has decided to make a statement about priorities on the biggest shopping day of 2016.
Outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia has announced that it will donate 100 percent of proceeds from sales on Black Friday, both in store and online, to grassroots environmental groups. The announcement was made on Monday, just four days before Black Friday begins on November 25th, and was inspired by the results of the recent U.S. election.
Lisa Pike Sheehy, vice president of environmental activism at Patagonia, told CNN Money:
“We definitely came up with the idea after the election. This is a difficult and divisive time for our country. I believe the environment is something we can all come together on. ... Environmental values are something we all embrace.”
Patagonia has long been viewed as a leader in environmental stewardship, adhering to a business model that strives to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” It has always donated 1 percent of its proceeds to charity, totalling $74 million in the three decades since its founding by innovator and mountain-climber Yvon Chouinard. (There is an excellent New Yorker article about “Patagonia’s Philosopher-King” here.)
In 2011, Patagonia launched a highly successful campaign urging customers to buy less, in an attempt to combat wasteful consumerism, and on Black Friday 2014 it hosted "Worn Wear Swap" events at eight major stores, where people could swap old garments for new ones.
How refreshing it is to see the company take a stance that’s directly at odds with the recent statements made by president-elect Donald Trump, who says he plans to lift regulations on the fossil fuel industry and “restore the glory of coal,” according to the Huffington Post.
In a press release about upcoming Black Friday, Patagonia stated:
“This we know: If we don’t act boldly, severe changes in climate, water and air pollution, extinction of species and erosion of topsoil are certain outcomes. The threats facing our planet affect people of every political stripe, of every demographic, in every part of the country. We all stand to benefit from a healthy environment—and our children and grandchildren do, too.”
It is an interesting approach, different from that of competitor REI, which has chosen to lock its doors on Black Friday in order to encourage people to spend time outdoors instead of shopping. More than 2.5 million people have signed REI's #OptOutside pledge.
Patagonia calls on people to get involved in their communities, on Black Friday and every day, to contact local grassroots groups, and to do whatever possible to help the planet at this crucial time.