People, Planet, Profits: A look at Patagonia’s CSR

Following our previous post on Corporate Social Responsibility, let’s take a closer look at how CSR is becoming a major component in the overall strategies of corporations in recent times. For several companies, the practice of CSR is merely a publicity stunt to increase profits and sell the public an illusion that the company is ethical, while for others like Patagonia Inc., it’s a full commitment to sustainability, human rights, fair labor practices and safe working conditions.

Patagonia & CSR: A closer Look

Founded in 1973, Patagonia is one of the largest retailers of sustainable outdoor clothing. Patagonia’s commitment to developing social and environmental standards as well as transparency has earned the company a B Corp certification. Patagonia continues to blaze a trail by implementing several processes and initiatives to set positive standards in the industry. These range from developing Supplier Workplace Codes of Conduct, Migrant Worker Employment Standards and increasing fair trade product offerings.

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Furthermore, Patagonia makes plans to continuously improve supply chain labor conditions by strictly assessing the practices, standards and values of factories to make sure they share the same goals. These initiatives allow the company to focus on the long-term social impacts of their activities. Taking a closer look into Patagonia’s work with factories shows that the company places a huge emphasis on making sure its employees are not only fairly paid, but also contribute to community and environmental causes. Patagonia’s vision has not only allowed the company to create a balanced social, economic and environmental business model but also allowed them to build social capital, develop unique ways of expanding their reach, and continue to set the pace in the industry.

Lessons Learned

In conclusion, Patagonia has shown through its mission and unique practices that effective CSR shouldn’t just be used as a slick PR move, but rather it should be a process that is embedded in the company culture. More companies in the clothing industry should follow the example(s) set by Patagonia because similar practices can allow them to transform their business models, increase employee engagement, in addition to enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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