MOST IN­NO­VA­TIVE COM­PA­NIES

Fast Company - - Contents - —CLAIRE DOD­SON

The lat­est from Patag­o­nia, Casper, Sweet­green, and more.

In Au­gust, out­door ap­parel brand Patag­o­nia re­leased its first tele­vi­sion ad­ver­tise­ment. Rather than show­case a new line of out­door cloth­ing and gear, the minute-long spot fea­tures founder Yvon Chouinard out­lin­ing an on­go­ing threat to Amer­ica’s pub­lic lands. This year, 27 fed­er­ally held na­tional mon­u­ments, in­clud­ing Cas­cade-siskiyou in Ore­gon and Bears Ears in Utah, un­der­went a re­view by Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior Ryan Zinke—an act that could presage in­cur­sions by pri­vate com­pa­nies or even sale. “We thought peo­ple didn’t re­ally un­der­stand what was at stake,” Patag­o­nia pres­i­dent and CEO Rose Mar­cario says. “We don’t usu­ally ad­ver­tise in tra­di­tional ways. We try to help ed­u­cate peo­ple about en­vi­ron­men­tal harm.”

The 44-year-old re­tailer has long been known for po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism, but since the elec­tion, its so­cial con­scious­ness has sharp­ened. Last Novem­ber, it do­nated all of its $10 mil­lion in Black Fri­day sales to en­vi­ron­men­tal non­prof­its. Ear­lier this year, it boy­cotted the an­nual Out­door Re­tailer trade show, tra­di­tion­ally held in Salt Lake City, to protest Utah gov­er­nor Gary Her­bert’s un­will­ing­ness to pro­tect Bears Ears. The event, which brings in an es­ti­mated $45 mil­lion to its host city, will move to Den­ver in 2018.

Patag­o­nia, whose sales hit $800 mil­lion in 2016 (dou­ble its 2010 rev­enue), has now set up a dig­i­tal plat­form that makes it easy for peo­ple to call of­fi­cials with their con­cerns. If the U.S. gov­ern­ment pro­ceeds with shrink­ing na­tional mon­u­ments, Mar­cario has said the com­pany won’t shy away from le­gal ac­tion. “Do­ing noth­ing is a kind of tacit sort of agree­ment with what’s go­ing on,” she says. “Peo­ple look to us and look at what we’re do­ing and they hope­fully get in­spired to do some­thing as well.”

Patag­o­nia is ad­vo­cat­ing for Bears Ears Na­tional Mon­u­ment as the site faces scru­tiny.

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