From Emerger Strategies:
Patagonia has an incredible story from how it was founded to why “Patagonia” is the company’s namesake. Yvon Chouinard initially started making climbing pitons that could be used over and over again, therefore causing less damage when climbing and an environmental ethos was born. In 1968, Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, Dick Dorworth and Chris Jones went looking for adventure on an 8,000 mile trek from Ventura, CA to Patagonia that would inspire and forever change Yvon’s life and the underground film that resulted from their adventure, Mountains of Storm, is now being re-released by Patagonia Films. Eventually Yvon discovered that rugby shirts would also make durable climbing shirts, which led him to start selling clothes to other climbers. He named his new clothing company “Patagonia” and has since done everything from introducing organic cotton to its products, being a founding 1% for the Planet member and now has a goal to not use any synthetic fabrics made from petroleum by 2025.
I could go on and on, but the rest of Patagonia’s story is told in Yvon’s book, Let My People Go Surfing. I read it during my last semester of college and it really got me thinking about how business can be used to solve environmental problems. Reading Let My People Go Surfing not only inspired me to pursue a career in sustainability, but continues to motivate me as I do what I can to protect what I love by helping businesses minimize their environmental impact. One quote I have always loved from Let My People Go Surfing is:
“Who are businesses really responsible to? Their customers? Shareholders? Employees? We would argue that it’s none of the above. Fundamentally, businesses are responsible to their resource base. Without a healthy environment there are no shareholders, no employees, no customers and no business.”
With all of that being said, I recently had the opportunity to interview Yvon for my blog, The Sustainable Angler. I started The Sustainable Angler blog series with the intent to educate and create more awareness about environmental threats to our fisheries, such as population (overfishing), policy (public lands and climate change) and pollution (plastic and greenhouse gas emissions), or what I call the “3 P’s.” However, I decided this interview would be a great one to launch The Sustainable Angler Podcast. This is the first episode of The Sustainable Angler Podcast and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to interview Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard. We discuss disappearing into the South Pacific looking for the perfect bonefish flat, potentially changing Patagonia’s mission statement and what Patagonia is doing to fight climate change among other topics…I hope you enjoy!