Corporate Eye

Exploring Corporate Stewardship

Patagonia: corporate stewardship

Patagonia, Inc. sells high-end outdoor clothes. That’s their bread and butter. But they don’t just do clothes like any normal company. No, Patagonia is a clothes retailer with an explorer’s impulse, an environmentalist’s conscience, a traveller’s spirit and a web designer’s digital nous.

That last trait is very important – Patagonia has a cutting edge website. It’s through Patagonia’s website that we have come to understand that it’s a trendy, up-to-date corporate that has a story, a personality, character, beliefs and fundamental convictions. Yes, through their website we get a company that has managed to humanise itself.

Their website has a load of standout qualities. The opening page is wonderful; first impressions are great and the feeling of open expanse that the interactive background gives you really draws the browser in. As you start to move around the site the ease of navigation and accessibility really boosts the online experience.

By having such a lively and interactive website – one that tells a story and projects a distinct personality – Patagonia connects on a personal level with browsers and customers. And by projecting personal values Patagonia can expect to draw out brand admiration, brand affinity, loyalty, a sense of rapport and therefore, fingers crossed, extended business relations.

On the dashboard Patagonia does all the usual stuff very well: it has a fantastic blog (it’s fresh, topical, very user friendly and customer-centric); they have a great interactive video section; a sports specific section; a tab for all the clothing and finally a tab dedicated to its social and environmental activism.

Patagonia’s environmental activism is something that really sets Patagonia apart from other businesses. Naturally Patagonia dedicates a lot of web time and space to explaining the work that it does to preserve and restore the natural environment for future generations. The company has been involved in a great number of initiatives since its inception and one of its central environmental efforts has been its commitment, since 1985, to donate 1% of all company sales to preserve the environment.

Then in 2002 Patagonia started a programme called “1% For The Planet” which encouraged other companies to do the same; to donate a percentage of sales towards the preservation of the earth for posterity. Since then Patagonia has been at the vanguard of an alliance of businesses that have been working actively to promote the earth’s natural habitat.

By doing this Patagonia has not only set out its stall as an admirable company among consumers and commentators but in a competitive business environment Patagonia has consistently pushed the envelope of corporate best practice. And by committing itself unreservedly to the betterment of the environment Patagonia has earmarked itself as a steward for the industry.

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Lucy is Editor at Corporate Eye
 
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