Patagonia grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing—as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, mountain biking and trail running. These are silent sports. None require an engine; rarely do they deliver the cheers of a crowd. In each, reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection with nature.
Patagonia’s values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers, and the minimalist style they promoted. The approach they take toward product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility.
Build the best product
Their criteria for the best product rests on function, repairability, and, foremost, durability. Among the most direct ways they can limit ecological impacts is with goods that last for generations or can be recycled so the materials in them remain in use. Making the best product matters for saving the planet.
Cause no unnecessary harm
Patagonia knows that their business activity—from lighting stores to dyeing shirts—is part of the problem. They work steadily to change their business practices and share what they’ve learned. But they recognize that this is not enough. They seek not only to do less harm, but more good.
Use business to protect nature
The challenges we face as a society require leadership. Once Patagonia identifies a problem, they act. They embrace risk and act to protect and restore the stability, integrity and beauty of the web of life.
Not bound by convention
Patagonia’s success—and much of the fun—lies in developing new ways to do things.