Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is done selling co-branded clothes to companies that fail to prioritize the health of the planet.
The company told BuzzFeed that it will only sell to certified B Corporations, which put social good over profit; companies that have joined the 1% for the Planet pledge, meaning they donate 1% of sales to environmental organizations; and companies with charity arms that help the planet.
The news would have otherwise gone unnoticed, but Binna Kim, president of the communications agency Vested, tried to place a Patagonia gear order for her client, a finance company.
Patagonia said in response that it was no longer doing business with such companies.
“Patagonia has nothing against your client or the finance industry, it’s just not an area they are currently marketing through our co-brand division,” a company representative wrote in response. “While they have co-branded here in the past, the brand is really focused right now on only co-branding with a small collection of like-minded and brand aligned areas; outdoor sports that are relevant to the gear we design, regenerative organic farming, and environmental activism.”
“[Patagonia is] reluctant to co-brand with oil, drilling, dam construction, etc. companies that they view to be ecologically damaging,” the rep added.
The finance industry is notorious for funding projects that are harmful to the planet, whether it's offshore oil wells or deforestation efforts, but organizations such as the United Nations are pushing to get banks and investment firms to only invest in sustainable projects going forward by noting that climate change could devastate the global economy in the decades ahead.
Some major players in the industry have said that they’re listening to these concerns.
Patagonia has long promoted the welfare of the planet, but the company has developed an activist streak in recent years, unafraid to lose customers as it pursues sustainability.
The company is also blunt about its approach to customers.
“As the climate crisis deepens, we see a potential, even probable end to such moments, and so we’re fighting to save them,” the company’s mission statement reads. “We donate our time, services, and at least 1% of our sales to help hundreds of grassroots organizations all over the world so that they can remain vigilant, and protect what’s irreplaceable.”
“At the same time, we know that we risk saving a tree only to lose the forest — a livable planet,” the statement continues.
Patagonia’s decision to withhold business to spur industry-wide changes is a step toward a more livable planet.