Both companies said they will not attend the outdoor gear exhibition in July 2017 in protest over Utah’s recent public land policy and are urging other retailers to advocate for better national forest conservation.
On Feb. 3, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a document that encouraged the Trump Administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument designation. Patagonia was disappointed over the decision and called out Gov. Herbert and state officials for not caring about public lands conservation.
According to Patagonia, the outdoor recreation industry generates $12 million in consumer spending and adds 122,000 jobs to Utah’s economy. Without support for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, outdoor brands, including Patagonia and Polartec, could potentially suffer from a loss of business as well.
“Because of the hostile environment they have created and their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business, Patagonia will no longer attend the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah and we are confident other outdoor manufacturers and retailers will join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conservation,” Patagonia CEO and president Rose Marcario said.
Polartec, a textile solutions provider for Patagonia products, also joined Patagonia and gave up its spot at Outdoor Retailer. The company also expressed concern over Utah’s recent environmental legislation and stated its support for protecting national public lands.
“Outdoor recreation is vital to our existence, and public lands conservation is essential. That’s why we’re proud to join with those willing to invest in doing the right thing, in standing up for the unique and finite resource that is our public lands,” Polartec CEO Gary Smith said. “It’s never been more important to demonstrate that collaboration and conservation, not domination and extraction, will determine the quality of our future.”
Despite the Outdoor Retailer decision, Polartec and Patagonia will continue to participate in other trade shows this year. Both companies are currently working on their own sustainability initiatives to foster better supply chains in the retail industry.