Patagonia’s ESG Hurts Brands, Keeps Footprint Down
By Bob Brady, Managing Director
Patagonia has done me a favor with their recent announcement, which highlighted that people often don’t wear their branded gear if they get a new job, or when they go out and about for the weekend. As a result, the shirt or hat can often end up in the trash and Patagonia is trying to prevent that by no longer offering brand logos on their gear.
I’m glad to know that I am not the only one who feels this way, and that I’m in good company (pun intended) with the execs at Patagonia.
Some people just don’t like branded gear. Shirts or hats that have a corporate logo or slogan spread across them can come across as kitschy (at least to me), especially when they’re not worn at the office or in the function in which they support.
We are in a new era where executives are focusing more and more on a company’s impact on the planet and communities in which they exist and reducing or keeping that footprint small.
Companies like Patagonia have been focusing on their carbon footprint for years, and it even said recently that it wants to focus on partnerships that are with “more mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet.”
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has made this decision – even if it hurts their bottom-line with corporate partners. It’s goal in doing so is to keep its clothing in your wardrobe and away from the landfill.
It’s a significant move for the environment, as well as the company’s overall Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG), but their data also supports that others dislike branded gear.
(I’m not alone)
By saying no to branded products, Patagonia is hoping people will continue to wear their clothing far longer. They note that wearing “a garment for just over two additional years, for example, cuts its overall footprint by 82 percent.”
That suits me just fine because I not only like my plain logo-free shirts and jackets, I also like the environment too.
And sooner than later, we’ll see more companies edge towards the path Patagonia is blazing, even if that means companies won’t be able to waste millions of dollars a year on branded gear that people wear once.
Come to think of it, a better alternative than a branded tchotchke is for companies to take that money and put it to good use within their own ESG values. Younger generations will likely find this more rewarding and beneficial to the environment.
Otherwise, companies may risk decreasing their brand loyalty and pride with their staff.