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Patagonia Hits Key Milestones in Environmental Activism

Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia prides itself on its social responsibility and the company recently announced three milestones demonstrating its dedication to environmental activism.

The brand donated $6.2 million to hundreds of environmental groups, appointed a new senior leader to focus on activism and will host its biennial Tools Conference, a four-day conference supporting small grassroots organizations, later in the month.

Every year, Patagonia dedicates 1 percent of its sales to the protection and restoration of the environment, regardless of the health of its sales or the economy.

This year, the company donated the $6.2 million to 741 local grassroots environmental groups in 18 countries to help them promote sustainable agriculture, prevent extreme resource extraction, protect endangered wildlife and habitats, and reduce the effects of climate change.

Patagonia said it chooses to donate to environmental organizations at the grassroots level because they are extremely underfunded and, according to the company, large environmental groups are funded by large corporations and foundations.

Since this program began in 1985, Patagonia has given $70 million to more than 3,500 groups globally.

The company also created a new role, vice president for environmental activism and appointed Lisa Pike Sheehy to focus on incorporating more activism into Patagonia’s everyday business.

Sheehy has been with Patagonia for 12 years and has worked with many environmental activism boards and associations in the past. She also oversaw several of the company’s initiatives including, Oceans as Wilderness, Our Common Waters, Vote the Environment and the recent New Localism campaigns.

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Her duties will include overseeing grassroots donations, running and developing environmental campaigns and managing the Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference.

Patagonia will host its Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference later this month for the 21st year, which hosts representatives from over 85 grassroots environmental organizations to an intensive four-day learning and idea-sharing retreat. The conference will focus on ways to enhance activism through advocacy, fundraising, marketing and communications, campaign strategy and social media, among others.

This year’s presenters include anthropologist and National Geographic Explore Wade Davis, communications strategist and Spitfire Strategies founder Kristen Grimm, Google Earth Outreach Team members, Patagonia owner and founder Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario.

In Spring 2016, Patagonia will release its first ever book coinciding with the Tools Conference, designed to expand the reach of its activist teachings.