Patagonia is a pioneer in the philosophy of winning is giving.  They have been passionate about protecting the environment, switched to using 100% organic cotton, and provided such amenities to employees as flexible work schedules and onsite daycare long before it was popular. Here are a few highlights of Patagonia’s giving:

  • Since 1986, they have donated 10% of profits or 1% of sales, whichever is greater, to environmental efforts.
  • In 2005 Patagonia launched their Common Threads Recycling Program, through which customers could return their worn out Capilene® Performance Baselayers to them for recycling. They’ve since been able to expand the list of recyclable garments to include worn out Patagonia® fleece, Polartec® fleece clothing (from any maker), Patagonia cotton T-shirts, and now some additional polyester and nylon 6 products that come with a Common Threads tag.
  • Patagonia employees are helping to create a new national park. To date, about 50 have traveled in groups of six to Chilean Patagonia – the company’s namesake – to spend three weeks digging out fence posts, rolling up wire and removing nonnative plants.
  • In response to the Gulf oil spill crisis starting last July, Patagonia sent 7 groups of 10 employees per week to Louisiana to work with a longtime environmental partner, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The group has created an Oil Spill Crisis Map, and  employees helped to gather information, stories and photographs in communities where oil has reached the shoreline and impacted wildlife. All of this information is being uploaded into the map – a living document that speaks to the environmental and health effects of the spill. It will serve as an open source of information that shows NGOs, governmental agencies, state and local wildlife agencies and the general public where help is needed most. Patagonia employees were paid their regular salaries and had all expenses paid while they were in the Gulf region.
  • Employees feel they have more than a job at Patagonia. They can take up to two weeks of paid leave annually to work for a nonprofit environmental group of their choosing

“Our definition of quality includes a mandate for building products and working with processes that cause the least harm to the environment. We evaluate raw materials, invest in innovative technologies, rigorously police our waste and use a portion of our sales to support groups working to make a real difference. We acknowledge that the wild world we love best is disappearing. That is why those of us who work here share a strong commitment to protecting undomesticated lands and waters. We believe in using business to inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Patagonia’s corporate identity built on philanthropy and environmental consciousness has paid off. .  Their 2009 revenue was $314.5 million.