Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company with a 50-year history of environmental conservation and activism. Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, it is a certified B Corporation based in Ventura, California.

In January 2012, Patagonia became the first California company to become a benefit corporation - a legal framework that enables mission-driven companies like Patagonia to stay that way as they grow and change. In 2013, Yvon Chouinard, the founder, announced the formation of a venture capital fund to help start-up companies that place environmental and social returns on equal footing with financial returns.

In 2018, Patagonia adopted a new purpose statement to reflect the shifts the company had been making - "We're in business to save the planet". And in September 2022, ownership of Patagonia was transferred to two new entities: Patagonia Purpose Trust and the nonprofit Holdfast Collective under the statement "the Earth is now our only shareholder". The company committed to distributing every dollar not reinvested into Patagonia as dividends to protect the planet, and Chouirnard declared he was "dead searious about saving this planet".

Social Impact & Engagement

Social Responsibility Programs

Over the years, Patagonia has built a robust social-responsibility program that analyzes and manages the impacts their business has on the workers and communities in their supply chain.

Fair Trade

Through their partnership with Fair Trade USA, Patagonia has been making Fair Trade clothing since 2014, and they offer more Fair Trade Certified™ sewn styles than any other apparel brand. The program has impacted more than 75,000 workers in 10 countries around the globe. They pay a premium for every Patagonia item that carries the Fair Trade Certified sewn label and that extra money goes directly to the workers at the factory, who decide how to spend it. Workers have chosen many ways to use their premiums: funding community projects like health-care programs or a child-care center; purchasing products they could not otherwise afford; or opting to take a cash bonus. The program also promotes worker health and safety as well as social and environmental compliance.

Fair Labor Association

Patagonia is a founding and accredited member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a nonprofit that was established to protect workers’ labor rights around the world. They use the results from the FLA’s assessment to stay focused on areas that will help them drive greater impact for workers, suppliers and communities, such as strengthening their engagement with civil society and expanding their responsible purchasing practices.

Migrant Workers

While many employers are using third-party labor brokers who charge foreign migrant workers thousands of dollars simply to get hired, Patagonia is working to ensure that workers in their supply chain have not paid money for their jobs. This is an ongoing commitment for the company and their suppliers, who work together to continuously monitor hiring and employment systems and to make sure workers are protected from recruitment fees and other exploitation.

Living Wage

Most factory workers in the apparel industry do not earn a living wage and must make trade-offs to cover their basic needs. Patagonia has worked hard to ensure that workers in their partner factories are paid according to the law with regard to the minimum wage, overtime pay and statutory benefits.

Materials and Environmental Programs

Patagonia has been working within their business and supply chain to reduce their environmental footprint. Although they are already at 100% renewable energy for their owned and operated stores, offices and distribution centers, materials manufacturing is still a challenge, accounting for 95% of the emissions.

In 1996, they switched to using only organically grown cotton in all the products made from virgin cotton and are continuing to increase our use of preferred materials—from 43% across our whole product line in 2016 to 88% in 2022. (Preferred materials includes organic and Regenerative Organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester and recycled nylon, among others.)

Over the years, Patagonia has cofounded or joined numerous progressive coalitions to change the industry, including the Fair Labor Association, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and B Lab. They have collectively focused on improving the lives and workplaces for people across the globe, used data to identify the industry’s most pressing challenges, and ensured that they balanced the needs of the business with those of society.

Stories Worth Sharing

1% for the Planet

Since 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. They've awarded over $140 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities. In 2002, founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, created a non-profit corporation to encourage other businesses to do the same. 1% for the Planet is an alliance of businesses that understand the necessity of protecting the natural environment.

Worn Wear

In addition to making high-quality clothing that lasts for years and can be repaired, Patagonia, through the Worn Wear program, offers the possibility of keeping the gears in action longer and provides an easy way to recycle Patagonia garments when they're beyond repair. Patagonia employs 45 full-time repair technicians at the service center in Reno, Nevada. It’s the largest repair facility in North America - completing about 40,000 repairs per year. They’ve also teamed up with the repair experts at iFixit to create care and repair guides so customers easily do it themselves. They also encourage donations and also make it easy to sell, trade or to return clothes so they can recycle it into new fiber or fabric, or repurpose.


By The Numbers:

of the line uses recycled materials
renewable energy for their owned and operated stores
Over $140M
in grants and in-kind donations since 1985

The WeHero 100

The way companies engage their employees and create impact is more important now than ever before. We face global and societal challenges, and companies have the power to make a difference.

Creating impact and engagement at this scale is incredibly challenging. That's why we felt it was essential to launch the WeHero 100 to highlight the top 100 companies making an impact.

WeHero announces a new company to the WeHero 100 monthly, with the goal of raising awareness and motivating more companies to focus on impact.

Join us in celebrating these change makers!

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