You might have heard that Patagonia has donated all of their Black Friday sales to the Planet. 100% for the planet! Yay! Aren't they wonderful? Not so fast, it's basically BS here's why:
1. Rather than donating their money to charities they should be using those funds to develop production facilities in places (like the USA) where there ARE ACTUAL ENVIRONMENTAL AND LABOR REGULATIONS and accountability for those issues. Their pricing structure is such that there is margin in there to produce their products at a fair living wage and in facilities with stricter environmental regulations, but they refuse to participate.
2. Their donation is all tax deductible. They are going to write it all off and it lowers their tax bill. Corporations in the USA are already some of the least taxed institutions in the world. I should know I own a couple of my own. After I started working for myself I quickly learned that working for yourself gives you ALL KINDS of breaks and deductions not available to normal working stiffs. Donating 10 million dollars to charity is good business sense for their bottom line.
3. It's a giant marketing schtick designed to make you feel good about buying stuff from them, when they basically do business in the same way that Nike, Wal-Mart, and North Farce do. They buy stuff cheap from third world countries, mark it up, and sell it to you. They claim to be "more sensitive" about working conditions and environmental concerns but the truth is they are using many of the same suppliers that other companies use. They don't have some magical super special factory all to themselves that does things in a special way! I use the same places, nothing special about them.
4. If they can give away ALL of their sales from one day, then that means everything else is too expensive the rest of the year! People who purchase things the other 364 days of the year are subsidizing your Black Friday purchase. Those jackets they sell for $449 probably cost them less than $40 dollars to produce. Trust me, I'm using their same or "very similar" facilities to produce my new jacket and waders.
5. There's no accountability to where the money goes or how it used or if it even goes anywhere. Who is monitoring this? How do we know they even pay it? They are a privately held company (though supposedly a "Public Benefit Corp") they don't have to share any financial info with anyone, so they can do what they want. And there isn't anyway to demand they turn over all that info, though I suspect they will provide some documentation to make people feel all warm and fuzzy. 1% is their own little brain child, so does anyone think it is going to say anything but yeah yeah, yeah they are great!
6. They treat their sales staff like crap and have one of the highest turnover rates in the outdoors industry. Why? Because they work them to death and don't pay them very well. Also, a while ago they fired all their independent sales consultants in the fly fishing industry and hung them out to dry to bring in a bunch of young inexperienced folks. After years of dedication they just cast these long standing employees to the wind and let them hang. But they seem to have plenty of money to give away to environmental causes! But screw their employees.
7. Founder Yvonne Choiunard is a notorious curmudgeon who has been on the record as saying he thinks what he does is horrible and detrimental to the environment. And yet he is still trying to masquerade marketing as "environmentally beneficial" when in fact nothing we do as humans is "good for the environment." So why be such a two faced hypocrite? I have no idea. But it drives me nuts to hear an apologist. You should at least be proud of what you've built. If you don't like what you're doing shut it down and become a monk.
8. Environmental policy shouldn't be optional. It should be mandatory. Acting like donating is some sort of charity is like admitting that Governments will never do what is right. Optional elective environmental policy reinforces the notion that we don't NEED to do this stuff, but isn't it nice that we do it anyway? That's so cute. Wrong! Seriously, this is not a joke and we NEED TO FORCE companies to comply everywhere, with actual penalties for non-compliance even in developing countries.
So there you have it, 8 reasons why Patagonia's Black Friday donation is Bull shit. Now go back to their overpriced store and return that shit you bought. Get your money back and go do something productive with it.
Note: SmithFly gets some things form the same factories they do, so it may seem hypocritical for me to rant like this. But I'm working towards making more things here in the USA in my own production facility. Rest assured if I had 9 million dollars in profits from one day of sales I would be putting it towards getting machines and putting people to work in my own facility so I could more quickly innovate and deliver more value to my customers — which is what companies owe to their customers. More value, more quality and more innovation. Not just giving away money — that's Bull shit.