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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Strategic CSR - Patagonia

I had missed this, but Patagonia is now making and selling food. As the article in the url below reports, the independent company set-up by Patagonia for this is named Patagonia Provisions and draws on "regenerative agriculture" as its guiding philosophy:
"Conventional farming practices tend to entail reaping one annual crop, tilling the soil for next season's harvest, and making extensive use of inputs—fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides—to boost yield. Regenerative agriculture emphasizes a diverse variety of crops (throughout the farm, in rotation, or even in the same field), not tilling the soil, using fewer inputs, and adding perennials into the mix as buffers and cover crops. It's a lot harder than it sounds, but a growing body of soil science and on-farm research shows that these techniques—especially not tilling the soil—can generate competitive harvests while saving water and restoring topsoil. That restored soil is able to fix more nitrogen in place, so farmers can cut down on expensive nitrogen fertilizers and excess nitrogen doesn't run off into rivers and create dead zones in bays. This soil retains higher concentrations of carbon, too, so it doesn't rise in the atmosphere and trap heat there, frying the planet."
The article is long and detailed for all those wanting to find out more about this new venture. I was drawn to a couple of quotes by Yvon Chouinard towards the end of the article that illustrate this revolutionary founder's exasperation at the snail's pace of progress on what has become his life's work:
"For a while, [Chouinard] was proud of the work his sustainability teams did with companies like Walmart. But, he says, 'they took the low-hanging fruit, recycling plastic, converting their fleet over to natural gas. Things like that. They did everything that ends up making 'em more money. But when it comes down to doing the hard things, anything with a long-term payoff, they backed out.' He stresses that it's not just Walmart. 'All of these companies, whether it's Dannon or Unilever, they're all ­greenwashing. They start out making a big deal out of something and they back down. It's like Nike started out doing a little bit of organic cotton, like 1 percent. Now I don't know if they do any at all. The fashion industry, same thing.'"
Take care
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Solving Climate Change with Beer From Patagonia's Food Startup
By Bradford Wieners
October 10-16, 2016
Bloomberg Businessweek
Late Edition – Final