The day after Thanksgiving is usually reserved for two things: turkey leftovers and holiday shopping. This year as retailers welcome hordes of frenzied shoppers for one of their single most lucrative days, one business is eschewing profits and giving everything back. U.S.-based outdoor clothing company Patagonia has pledged to donate 100% of sales on Black Friday to grassroots environmental groups.
In an open letter, the company’s CEO Rose Marcario explained the impetus for the gutsy move. “This we know: If we don’t act boldly, severe changes in climate, water and air pollution, extinction of species and erosion of topsoil are certain outcomes. The threats facing our planet affect people of every political stripe, of every demographic, in every part of the country. We all stand to benefit from a healthy environment—and our children and grandchildren do, too.”
Patagonia has a long history of environmental activism. Since 1985 the company has donated 1% of sales to organisations protecting and restoring the environment — over $74 million to date. The retailer operates one of the largest apparel repair facilities in North America — sparing 45,000 pieces of clothing from a landfill last year alone — and sells environmentally friendly gear like the world’s first neoprene-free, natural rubber wetsuit and recycled down jackets and vests. Employees can take a two-month paid hiatus from their job in order to intern at an environmental group, and in 2002 Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard co-founded a non-profit called 1% for the Planet to encourage other businesses to contribute 1% of net annual sales to grassroots environmental groups.
Patagonia’s sales on Friday are estimated to total over $2 million, including purchases made in stores and online. Embrace the holiday spirit of giving this year and pick up a little something for the environment.