US retailer Patagonia donates $10m from Black Friday sales to protect environment

The proceeds will help to address climate change and other serious environmental issues, company says

Merchandise for sale at a Patagonia shop in Chicago, Illinois. Patagonia contributes 1 per cent of its total annual sales to grassroots environmental groups. AFP
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US outdoor apparel and gear retailer Patagonia is donating a record $10 million in retail and online Black Friday proceeds as part of its pledge towards sustainability and saving the environment.

The company will donate the money to “grassroots non-profits working on the front lines to protect our air, water and soil for future generations”, Rose Marcario, former president and chief executive of Patagonia, said on Monday.

The sales were five times more than the company’s expectations, said Ms Marcario, who since leaving Patagonia has joined the boards of electric vehicle company Rivian and plant-based protein start-up Meati Foods. She has also joined early-stage venture fund ReGen Ventures as a partner.

“We expected to reach $2 million in sales.”

Patagonia is a member of 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that understand the need to protect the natural environment and are concerned with industry's social and environmental impact.

By contributing 1 per cent of total annual sales to grassroots environmental groups, member companies contend that they bring about real change.

Traffic at US retail shops on Black Friday dropped 28.3 per cent, compared with 2019 levels, as Americans shifted more of their spending online and kicked off their shopping earlier in the year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions.

However, traffic was up 47.5 per cent compared with levels a year earlier, Sensormatic said.

Several companies have been giving back to the environment to help offset their carbon footprint as major shopping events have a hefty environmental impact.

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The enormous love our customers showed to the planet on Black Friday enables us to give every penny to hundreds of grassroots environmental organisations working around the world
Rose Marcario, former president and chief executive of Patagonia

French beauty products maker and retailer L'Occitane teamed up with PUR Project, which works with companies to regenerate ecosystems.

Similarly, Armani Beauty announced that 30 per cent of every product sale will be donated to its Acqua for Life project, which focuses on delivering accessible drinking water to those in need around the globe.

Patagonia’s customers called it a “fundraiser for the Earth”, Ms Marcario said.

“The enormous love our customers showed to the planet on Black Friday enables us to give every penny to hundreds of grassroots environmental organisations working around the world,” she said.

“Many of these environmental groups are underfunded and under the radar.”

This additional infusion of resources will go a long way towards addressing climate change and other serious environmental issues, Ms Marcario said.

The Black Friday initiative attracted not only loyal customers but also “thousands who have never purchased anything from Patagonia before”, she said.

“We are encouraged to see the great interest from so many in making buying decisions that align with strong environmental values – and taking steps to get more directly involved as well.”

By becoming active in communities, companies can raise their voices to defend policies and regulations that protect wild places and wildlife, reduce carbon emissions, build a modern energy economy based on investment in renewables, and ensure the US remains fully committed to the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement on climate change, she said.

Updated: December 06, 2021, 7:15 AM
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