Patagonia, an extraordinary commitment on all fronts in favor of the environment

Last June, an environmental campaign launched by Patagonia resulted in the creation of the Vjosa National Park in Albania, the last wild river in Europe. Andrew Burr

FIGARO DEMAIN – Beyond Yvon Chouinard’s recent decision, the brand has always worked for the planet.

“We make the land our sole shareholder. Instead of extracting value from nature and turning it into wealth, we use the wealth created by Patagonia to protect nature. This is how Yvon Chouinard, founder of the American brand, motivated his decision in September to entrust the fate of his company to two funds in charge of allocating profits – one hundred million dollars a year – to the environment.

This iconoclastic decision is really just the tip of the iceberg: Patagonia has been more committed than any other company in the world for forty-nine years. And this on several fronts, from the protection of animals and wild lands to the promotion of renewable energies. “We started by using less harmful materials,” Yvon Chouinard recalled in his open letter. Starting in 2025, Patagonia intends to use only recycled or organic materials. Secondly, “We voluntarily produce less product, about 30% to 40%, than we could sell,” says Matthijs Visch, the brand’s European CEO.

To protect beaches and rivers, Patagonia has another string to its bow. Or rather a thousand, because that is the number of NGOs supported worldwide, including 28 in France.

The company, which owes its name to the mountainous steppes of Argentina, not only seeks to convince its customers to buy its more expensive ecological clothing, repaired free for life. His ambition is above all to train other companies in his path to “change the system” proclaims its founder. Thus, since 95% of its emissions come from the manufacture and transport of its shoes, parkas and other T-shirts, it supports its suppliers in their ecological revolution. Above all, he shares his research and makes his innovations available “like natural rubber replacing neoprenepetroleum-based, in combinations of browse»explains Gabe Davies, director of ocean marketing for Europe.

To protect beaches and rivers, Patagonia has another string to its bow. Or rather a thousand, because that is the number of NGOs supported worldwide, including 28 in France. “We make their voices heard. describes Beth Thoren, director of environmental actions and initiatives in Europe. For its part, the manufacturer did not hesitate to sue the Trump Administration for having reduced the size of two nature reserves and to condemn the Dutch government, for the first time in the world, to reduce its emissions. “Reports on climate change are numerous, but we need to be touched to take action. We produce films to amplify our environmental campaigns, such as the one that resulted in the creation of the Vjosa National Park in June – the last wild river in Europe, threatened by more than 3,400 hydroelectric projects – agreed with the Albanian government.explains Beth Thoren.

1% of your turnover to 1000 NGOs

The company puts NGOs in contact with volunteers and finances them (up to 1% of their turnover, since 1985). With the creation of the organization 1% for the Planet, in 2002, Yvon Chouinard encourages other companies to do the same: there are 6,000 members, including 1,000 in France. With the delivery of the reins of his business to “Mother Nature”, the 83-year-old leader hopes to be imitated again: “If we want to have any hope of seeing our planet prosper fifty years from now, we must do everything we can.”

The Figaro

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