[Image: Patagonia Brand Image | © Patagonia]
Over the years I've found myself returning to the story of Patagonia again and again.
First as a consumer, looking for a 'greener' jacket. Then as a student, looking for inspiration while writing a dissertation late into the night. Then as a corporate lackey, trying to convince some senior managers to change tack. And then, most recently, when looking to show my newest client what embracing sustainability could do for their bottom line and staff retention.
And through it all I've remained inspired by the belief that all companies could (and should!) operate in the same way in their given fields that Patagonia does in its'. By committing to operate in a way that respects both the planet and its' people. By continually innovating and looking for a better way. And by underpinning it all with a guiding design principle from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, the French aviator:
“In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”
Amazingly, 2023 finds them celebrating their 50th year in business. 50 years at the cutting edge of what it truly means to be a sustainable, purpose-driven business. 50 years of innovation and risk-taking and looking to find a better way. 50 years of simply always trying to do the right thing.
If you can't tell, they continue to inspire me even after all these years of returning to them as a case study of what can be achieved with vision and courage.
I'll end my brief homily in their words: