Patagonia’s Multi-Faceted Social Initiatives are an Inspiration - Gauthereau Group

During the holiday season, we witnessed countless businesses dedicating resources and manpower to giving back to the global community. Companies donated books to children, served warm meals to the hungry, and provided shelter for people visiting hospitalized relatives in distant cities, among many other noble initiatives. However, corporate social responsibility (CSR) extends beyond the holiday season, and, for many organizations, is a ubiquitous part of their organizational ethos. For the next five weeks, I’ll be using this space to spotlight a few of the brands whose CSR projects are truly admirable. At Totsy, we view CSR as an alignment of our personal and professional values. We believe that businesses with strong ethics outperform rival businesses because consumers would rather be compelled to do the right thing than simply save a few bucks, and employees want to work for a company that stands for something more important than revenue. Perhaps no other brand has embodied this philosophy better than outdoor gear retailer Patagonia.

The Reno, Nevada-based retailer is well-known for its commitment to humane working conditions, reducing its carbon footprint, efficient water usage, revolutionizing the sourcing system for salmon, and donating 1% of annual sales to various charitable endeavors. Ironically, the massive retail chain has also historically shown a commitment to reducing consumerism — even going so far as to take out an advertisement in The New York Times urging consumers NOT to buy a Patagonia jacket. These initiatives are the brain-child of Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, who penned a book, The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 40 Years, which goes into great detail about the company’s CSR practices and ideology, and what businesses can do to get started themselves. Not bad for a company that tripled profits from 2008-2011.

At Totsy, we’re also committed to CSR. In addition to recycling and using less packaging materials when shipping, we’ve partnered with TerraPass — an organization that provides carbon offsetting products to individuals and businesses — to reduce carbon emissions by sponsoring clean energy and carbon reduction projects. We plant a tree whenever we register a new customer. We make annual holiday donations to No Kid Hungry. We promote organic products on our site and we have banned toys that promote war and the sexualization of children. We’re the first private sales to take on sustainable and socially responsible initiatives in all areas of business and we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting CSR opportunities.