Posts tagged ‘Yvon Chouinard’

Buy a Song, Better the Environment

Patagonia, the California-based outdoor clothing company,  announced the launch of a new music initiative, and is partnering with like-minded musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson and Zac Brown Band.

The new program is called Patagonia Music and will offer exclusive tracks through iTunes that will help support various environmental groups.

In a press release, Patagonia states their program will be “perpetually evolving” and the company hopes it will bring about a greater dialogue between environmentally-conscious fans and artists.

In the first volume, called Patagonia Music Collective, Vol. 1, Patagonia has put together a compilation including live versions of Bonnie Raitt and Jon Cleary’s “So Damn Good,” Zac Brown Band’s “Cold Hearted,” Jack Johnson’s “To The Sea,” as well new recordings by Ben Sollee, Abigail Washburn, and Blitzen Trapper.  Each of the 11 tracks on the compilation are being sold through iTunes for 99 cents.

Each artist chooses a different environmental group to benefit.  Zac Brown Band will benefit Urban Farming, while Johnson’s track will support the Kōkua Hawai’i Foundation.

With Volume 2 boasting tracks from Pearl Jam, Ziggy Marley, and Ra Ra Riot among others, Patagonia’s music initiative succeeds in bringing together a broad range of talented artists under one common cause.

17/03/2011 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Uniting for Global Change

A new coalition of some of the world’s biggest clothing brands, which together amount to around 60% of global apparel sales, has agreed to develop a new environmental hang-tag for clothing that will allow shoppers to immediately assess the environmental impact of their purchases.  The news of a brand new ‘Sustainable Apparel Coalition’ was revealed by Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor brand Patagonia, in early November.  His company has been working with the likes of Wal-Mart, C&A and Levi Strauss on the new project after a meeting at Wal-Mart where the idea was first raised.  “We have been working with Wal-Mart to ‘green’ its business which has ultimately led to the formation of a new coalition of retailers and brands which make up between 50 – 60% of world clothing sales”, he said.

Non-disclosure agreements have already been signed and it’s expected that the European/US outdoor eco-index and Nike’s Considered Index Tool will be put at the disposal of the other non-outdoor brands involved in this ground-breaking project.  The formation of the new coalition will be officially announced in January 2011.

Chouinard told Ecotextile News that the coalition also includes household names such as JC Penney, Nike, Gap, Coles and “many others” who are working towards “an eco-index for consumers so that they can instantly identify the sustainable credentials of a product”.  He said the new consumer label project is expected to take two years to finalize and complete – a very ambitious time-scale.  “The industry has decided to take this step in advance of government legislation”, Chouinard told us, “the brands wanted to take the initiative before governments did”.

The coalition is sure to have a revolutionary effect on the global textile supply chain and provides an interesting insight into current brand thinking but  it also raises some concerns within the textile sector about how this new eco-textile label can be both policed and certified.  “The opportunity for greenwashing is an obvious concern”, said one textile NGO,  “they will need the involvement of credible, third-party organizations to help develop the new label system”.  The brands will also have to map their entire supply chains – a huge undertaking on its own.

To ensure this project is transparent, Ecotextile News calls for the full engagement and involvement of the relevant NGO’s in the USA, Europe and Asia.  In particular this includes the new Textile Exchange in the USA, the RITE Group in Europe and perhaps the SFBC in Hong Kong.  Regional consumer protection organizations should also be engaged to ensure it actually delivers what it sets out to achieve.

~Reported by John Mowbray of Ecotextile News~


29/12/2010 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

180° South

180° South – Conquerors of the Useless follows Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia.  Chouinard is the founder of outdoor gear Patagonia, a passionate environmentalist and is a leader in the forefront of the sustainable textile movement.  Tompkins, the co-founder of North Face, along with his wife Kris are now committed to extraordinary conservation efforts in South America.

Throughout Johnson’s journey,  he gets shipwrecked off Easter Island, surfs the longest wave of his life – and prepares himself for a rare ascent of Cerro Corcovado.  Jeff’s life turns when he meets up in a rainy hut with Chouinard and Tompkins who, once driven purely by a love of climbing and surfing, now value above all the experience of raw nature – and have come to Patagonia to spend their fortunes to protect it.

Enjoy this inspirational, must-see documentary!

21/10/2010 at 6:45 am Leave a comment

What Makes a Great Leader?

Yvon Chouinard

Recently named by US News as one of America’s Best Leaders 2009, Yvon Chouinard is a passionate rocker climber, surfer, kayaker, fly fisherman and writer but is most noted for his environmental activism and the clothing and gear company Patagonia.

One must ask, what makes a great leader?  Well, according to US News, they judge based on the following criteria; Set Direction (25%), Cultivates a Culture of Growth (25%) and Achieves Results (50%).

Chouinard is not your typical executive as he is known to ignore the bottom line and refers to fellow business leaders as “corpses in suits”.  He leads his own brand of MBA (Management by Absence) and it’s proven effective.

His first business was born, in 1957,  out of discontent over the quality of climbing hardware.  He taught himself blacksmithing and began forging his own equipment.  Soon he was able to support himself by selling equipment to climbers from the back of his car.  By the 1970’s, his company grew to be was the largest domestic supplier of climbing equipment, and it began to dawn on Chouinard that he had become, by default, a businessman.  Along the way, Chouinard had the idea of making climbing knickers and double-seated shorts out of heavy corduroy. By 1973, an expanded clothing line grew popular enough to warrant its own label, and Patagonia was born.

Chouinard decided to blur the lines between work, play and family so employees could have flextime to surf when the waves were good or take care of a sick child. Patagonia made the “best-company-to-work-for” lists.  In 1984 he opened an on site cafeteria offering healthy, almost vegetarian food and started an on-site child care at headquarters – this led to an average of 900 applicants for every job opening.  In 1986, he committed the company to “tithing” for environmental activism by donating 1% of sales or 10% of profits, whichever was greater.

Some Patagonia philosophies include:

Change – Chouinard writes in regards to the corporate world and in the environment, “Only those businesses operating with a sense of urgency … constantly evolving, open to diversity and new ways of doing things, are going to be here 100 years from now.”

Environment – Despite being a self-professed pessimist about the fate of the planet, Chouinard writes that the cure for the end-of-the-world blues is action. Patagonia’s lofty goals in this area include: Lead an examined life; clean up our own act; do our penance; support civil democracy; influence other companies.

By walking the talk, Patagonia has done very well.  Chouinard claims that every time Patagonia has elected to do the right thing for the environment (i.e. switching to organic cotton and using recycled plastic soft-drink bottles as raw material for jackets), even when it costs twice as much, it’s turned out to be more profitable.

By pioneering these processes, Patagonia hopes to continue to convince other companies that green business is good business. Already, Chouinard writes, large companies such as Nike, Levi’s, Gap and Walmart buy organic cotton to blend in with their industrial cotton to support the organic movement without pricing themselves out of their markets.

Some of Chouinard’s most noteable accomplishments are;

Be sure to grab a copy of Chouinard’s biography, Let My People Go Surfing,  on your next trip to the bookstore or library.

16/11/2009 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

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