Never underestimate the power of brand activism and social responsibility.
Patagonia has announced that it will donate the $10 million it saved from federal tax cuts to environmental protection groups.
— Patagonia (@patagonia) November 28, 2018
“Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario, on LinkedIn. “Our home planet needs it more than we do.”
The company’s announcement comes less than a week after Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment warned of the escalating threats that human-caused climate change pose to the US and the rest of the world.
“Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet.” https://t.co/R8qScInjfU
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 29, 2018
Weather crises have cost the US nearly $400 billion since 2015, and a worst-case scenario has climate change causing a 10 percent hit to the nation’s GDP by the end of the century.
Unfortunately, for many environmentalists and climate change supporters, President Trump’s reaction was simply: “I don’t believe it.”
Breaking: Massive federal report says climate change will do America huge damage. Okay, now resume buying things. https://t.co/ho3lCnhPmP
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) November 23, 2018
Trump’s overhaul of the tax code has been a windfall for corporations, slashing corporate rates from 35% to 21%, and 180 of the country’s largest companies saw a 6% reduction in their tax bills saving them around $13 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Patagonia supports groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis. “Our government continues to ignore the seriousness and causes of the climate crisis. It is pure evil,” said Chouinard.
This is not the first time the company has used its voice and brand muscle against the current administration. Last year, it decried the government’s plan to reduce the size of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. “The president stole your land,” the company said on its website.
Over 2.8 million voices spoke up in SUPPORT of #BearsEars.
— Patagonia (@patagonia) December 4, 2017
The company will continue its “One Percent for the Planet” pledge to donate 1% of its sales, which it began in 1985, for “preservation and restoration of the natural environment.”
In a speech last year, Marcario said, “Any time that we do something good for the environment, we make more money,” referencing its “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign, and the national monuments debacle.
“A contentious relationship with the president is good for business, especially when it aligns with the brand’s pro-environment ethos, reports GQ. “So while the brand is donating $10 million away, it’s clearly a calculated risk—with an eye on the profits that will surely boomerang right back.”
Once again, Patagonia has struck a delicate balance between profit and conscience, using its success as a platform to benefit the planet.