The Patagonia Story – Rick Ridgeway

[Video Link for Email/Other Subscribers – 27min]

Date: Nov. 8, 2008
Organizer: Opportunity Green


Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company with a long tradition of mindfulness toward environmental and social impact in its operations. Rick describes the company’s history and various initiatives in this half hour presentation.

Of particular interest to marketers is the Footprint Chronicles, which with multimedia and video provide an expansive look into the production of some of its clothing items. All in the name of transparency. No other clothing company has taken nearly as significant steps in enlightening the public about the nature of its business. Let’s face it – everyone knows that most all clothes are made in Asia, some being from Latin America. So why not show who you are as a company? Should one be secretive of the fact that outsourcing is the norm?

There are two ways to consider a similar type of initiative: Marketing and Reporting. It’d be great if more large manufacturers took the proactive steps to document their foreign operations through pictures and video instead of just bare-bones text reports as part of social/environmental responsibility obligations. If one is comfortable enough with the results, one can include such messaging within your marketing communications. A logical concern is that “We’re just not good enough. People may consider us greenwashing if too little is said”. That’s true to a degree, but there’s a variety of areas to talk about your company and channels to use as well (public relations, packaging, advertising, social media, internal).