Patagonia’s CEO Says Taking on Trump Isn’t Risky for Business

In the past two years, Patagonia has stepped into the spotlight as one of the most vocal brands taking a stand on hot-button issues. But to CEO Rose Marcario, a 10-year veteran of the company, its actions “feel proportional.”

“People say that all of a sudden, we’ve become vocal activists, but to us, it’s completely proportional to what’s going on in the country right now,” Marcario told a crowd today at the NRF Big Show in New York.

One of Patagonia’s biggest actions has been to fight back against the Trump administration in support of preserving public lands.

Not only has it threatened legal action, but in the 2018 midterms, the brand endorsed political candidates who shared its views, and in November donated the $10 million it received from the recent Trump tax cut, giving it to eco-friendly groups.

Marcario noted that the company wasn’t too concerned about these actions impacting its business. In fact, she said the brand is having one of the best runs of its history.

“We grew out of a catalog, so we’ve always been very close to our customer,” she said. “People find us because they have a connection to the outdoors. Plus we’ve been funding outdoor activism for years. So to us, there was very little risk in taking these steps. And young people are coming to the brand in a new way now because they recognize the climate crisis is real.”

Meanwhile, the firm is working hard to extend its eco focus throughout the organization. “We have said we want to be carbon-neutral by 2025, and that includes our entire supple chain,” Marcario said, adding that the brand is developing more regenerative methods for materials and production to improve its footprint.

But in order to make large leaps to improve the supply chain and help slow climate change, Marcario emphasized the need for collaboration throughout the industry. “There are things we can do together that will be important to preserving the planet and making a more just world,” she said.

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