Is Walmart Taking Cues From Yvon Chouinard?

A new profile looks at the iconoclast behind Patagonia, and how he runs his business
Staff Writer

Preceding the release of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard's new book, "The Responsible Company," The Wall Street Journal this week uncorked a massive, 3,000-word profile on the well-respected mountaineer and entrepreneur.

What do we have to learn from a guy like Chouinard? Quite a bit, it would seem.

Consider this: the 73-year-old is the sole owner of Patagonia, a company which brought in $414 million last year and is expecting a 30 percent uptick in sales this year. Chouinard has been able to create a global brand doing what he loves and has simultaneously managed to minimize his company’s environmental footprint in a way that goes well beyond the green-washing that is de rigueur in corporate America these days.

This well-reported piece traces from Chouinard’s childhood in Maine through his evolution as a reluctant businessman—one who has convinced some 1,400 companies to join his “1% for the Planet” campaign for what he calls “an Earth tax.”

The story also examines Chouinard’s hard times in business, including the early 1990s, when he had to lay off a fifth of his workforce and was contemplating selling off the business in order to pursue environmental causes full-time. Instead, of course, he decided to have it both ways.

Today, in addition to chipping in on new product development at Patagonia’s Ventura, CA, headquarters, Chouinard finds time to consult with companies including Walmart on the environmental impact of its supply chains.

Click here to read the whole story at WSJ.com.

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