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    Melissa and Randy Environmental Photographs for Patagonia.

    Photographers want to have their work used by Patagonia. When you do social documentary work, there can be conflicts with some corporations… For example, Randy was in the finals, but not chosen to do an ad shoot for the Gold Council and then he did an editorial global story on the human suffering brought about by the biggest gold rush in history for National Geographic Magazine-that would have been a serious conflict of interest. Patagonia sponsors so many great environmental programs – in this period of waning income from editorial print assignments they are a great outlet.

    So… this is a little bit funny… the photograph on the left side of this Patagonia catalog page is from Palmyra by Randy Olson the still photographer and the text ALSO on Palmyra is by Randy Olson the oceanographer. The two of them always get mixed up on google, but here they are on facing pages with no (need for) explanation that it is two different people.

    The photographer Randy Olson page above… the oceanographer Randy Olson’s facing page below.


    Patagonia is a prime example of a great corporate citizen.

    From their press releases: Patagonia, Inc. is a Ventura, California-based clothing company, focusing mainly on outdoor clothing. The company is a member of several environmental movements. It was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1972.

    Patagonia is a major contributor to environmental groups. Patagonia commits 1% of their total sales or 10% of their profit, whichever is more, to environmental groups. Since 1985, when the program was first started, Patagonia has donated $25 million to over 1,000 organizations.

    Patagonia co-founded the alliance 1% For the Planet. This is an alliance of businesses who, like Patagonia, commit at least 1% of their total sales to the environment.

    Patagonia often features their environmental campaigns in their catalogs and advertisements. Many of their recent campaigns include work with preventing oil drilling in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge, “Ocean As A Wilderness”, and “Don’t Dam Patagonia”.

    In early 2008, Patagonia won the ‘Eco Brand of the Year’ award at the Volvo Ecodesign Forum during the ISPO Trade Show in Munich.

    Patagonia also demonstrates their environmental consciousness in the design and construction of their facilities. An example is their Reno Nevada Service Center which employs green design and technologies to initially achieve a LEED Silver and then later Gold certification.

    Patagonia Initiatives

    In every aspect, Patagonia has focused on helping the environment since its inception in 1972. Patagonia’s mission statement includes a portion about helping the environment and reducing toxic impact:“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Patagonia donates 1% of sales to environmental groups every year, and has encouraged other companies to do the same through its 1% For the Planet alliance. In addition to large global initiatives, Patagonia also supports several smaller initiatives such as the World Trout Initiative, Environmental Internships, the Conservation Alliance, and the Organic Exchange. Recently, Patagonia launched a worldwide recycling initiative called the Common Threads Recycling Program and has a site devoted to the explanation of their recycling process called The Footprint Chronicles.

    1% For the Planet

    1% For the Planet was established in 2002 to bring together companies that wanted to help the environment and to encourage other companies to do the same. Developed by Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews, its mission is to “build and support an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.” Members range from small to large companies from all over the world. Spawned from Patagonia’s original policy of contributing 1% of all sales to environmental organizations since 1985, the 1,486 members of 1% For the Planet each contribute 1% of their total sales to over 2,000 different environmental organizations every year.

    World Trout Initiative

    Developed by Yvon Chouinard and James Prosek in 2005, the World Trout Initiative works to protect the endangered fish of the world through grants to organizations that protect threatened fish. The mission of the World Trout Initiative is to “identify the individuals and groups that protect native fish, to tell their story and to support their conservation efforts by placing money into the hands of the actual groups protecting the fish.” In the past year alone the World Trout Initiative has granted $75,000 for Fish and Habitat Enhancement, according to FlyFishMagazine.

    Environmental Internships

    A unique program that Patagonia started in 1993 is their Environmental Internships program. A Patagonia employee can take a leave of absence with full pay and benefits to volunteer within an environmental non-profit of their choice for up to two months. Employees can work anywhere in the country on any project they want, and over 700 employees have taken advantage of this opportunity to date. Patagonia does not worry about losing workers for a couple months because, according to Lu Setnicka, director of training for Patagonia, “[Patagonia] still consider[s] that they are working for Patagonia, but they are having the opportunity to bring a particular skill set to an organization that could really benefit from it, in some ways more than it would from a grant check. It also gives the employees the opportunity to dive deeper into an issue, partnering with a group that they are interested in.” Patagonia also states that, over the years, some employees have left the company to permanently work for the nonprofit that they interned for.