Patagonia Philosophy and Background
Patagonia, a subsidiary of Lost Arrow Corporations, is a privately held company that debuted in 1973 by a group of surfers and climbers. In 2006, Patagonia totaled $270 million in revenues, achieved with 1080 employees, wielding market power in the green apparel market. A purveyor in outdoor clothing and gear, Patagonia manages its research and development, design, manufacturing, merchandising and sales of all its products. Holding a competitive advantage in technical innovation, it is the leader in the outdoor retail industry. Patagonia prides itself on its deep commitment to environmental and socially sustainable industrial practices, and continually launches new products that are dedicated to its mission statement:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
An unusual mission statement, company founder Yvon Chouinard’s vision for long-term sustainability and low environmental impact has attracted employees devoted to shared environmental causes. Currently, Patagonia employs 1381 people worldwide, with 11 staffed in its Environmental Analysis Department. Its impressive environmental responsibility agenda and human resources practices have result in a high employee retention rate compared to industry averages. Moreover, the level of customer loyalty and brand recognition surpasses the size of its company. Customers rely on Patagonia for its technical excellence, performance and quality, with only 20% of its customers caring about the environmental impact of their purchases. However, in a competitive market where technological performance has become more difficult to differentiate, Patagonia has successfully been able to differentiate its products with its environmental performance. These initiatives have been used as a cornerstone to Patagonia’ marketing and public relations.
On the surface Patagonia sounds like the perfect company...