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In early April, famed outdoor apparel brand Patagonia announced that it will no longer make new partnerships with financial companies and other non-planet-forward businesses to produce branded fleece vests and other clothing. Instead, Patagonia will shift the priority of its corporate sales program towards mission-driven sustainable companies.
Fintech companies that traditionally don Patagonia-made uniforms customised with their company names and logos may soon have to search for a new brand. Announcing that their corporate sales program will no longer be focused on finance and Silicon Valley tech giants, Patagonia has made the decision to only make new partnerships with charitable organisations and eco-friendly corporations.
“We recently shifted the focus of this program to increase the number of Certified B Corporations, 1% For The Planet members and other mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet,” the company said in a statement.
While the move will not affect existing customers in Patagonia’s corporate sales program, it does mean that many Wall Street companies and tech brands will not make the cut in future partnerships to create the famous Patagonia-made fleece and puffer vests that have become a crucial part of the iconic “Midtown Uniform” donned by bankers and techies.
The change is aligned with Patagonia’s long-running eco-credentials and sustainability mission. In 2018, the outdoor apparel brand donated itss US$10 million tax cut to environmental groups. Its founder, Yvon Chouinard, remarked in an interview that the current business-as-usual capitalistic system that props up unsustainable practices must end if we are to save the planet.
For each order, Patagonia will now require disclosure on the type of company whose name will be showcased on the Patagonia product, and what the use of the product will be. The brand will reserve the right to refuse services to companies that are not purpose-driven, or multinationals that have yet to pledge 1% for the Planet or are not certified B Corporations.
Some companies have already been rejected, such as the financial marketing and PR firm Vested, whose president tweeted a few weeks ago that they will no longer be providing services to financial businesses.
While it may be sad news for Wall Street and Silicon Valley – home to some of the most polluting institutions from wasteful Amazon to fossil fuel lenders Goldman Sachs – Patagonia’s decision represents what more brands ought to do to stay true to its sustainability motto. There are other meaningful actions that Patagonia has taken in the past, such as fighting a lawsuit against the Trump administration for protected land against destruction, but pushing planet-unfriendly industries out of fleece and puffer vest uniforms can be pretty powerful too.
Lead image courtesy of Rob Latour / Shutterstock.