When it comes to rejecting the consumerism encouraged by shopping "holidays" like Black Friday, outdoor-gear retailers are leading the charge. REI announced last October that it would close all 143 of its stores on Black Friday, encouraging shoppers to go outside instead, while Patagonia encouraged (and offered to help) shoppers to mend items they already own, rather than replace them. This year, REI will again close up shop on the forthcoming shopping holiday, but Patagonia has a new trick up its sleeve. The outdoor specialist will donate 100 percent of its global in-store and online sales to support grassroots environmental organizations.
Patagonia is already heavily invested in such environmental groups. Its 1% for the Planet program — created by company co-founder Yvon Chouinard in 2002 — ensures that 1 percent of its global sales are given back to sustainability-oriented nonprofits that Patagonia chooses to support. But the retailer wanted to do more: In a release, the company said that "during this difficult and divisive time, it is important that we come together and #LoveOurPlanet."
Company President and CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a statement that the Black Friday proceeds will go towards local community organizations working to protect our air, water and soil. "These are small groups, often underfunded and under the radar, who work on the front lines," she said. Patagonia will also provide information about these groups — as well as tools for becoming active in our own communities — in its stores and on its website.
Marcario touched on the urgency with which such environmental groups need to act, stating:
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.
Like REI, Patagonia has a history of trying not to profit off one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and generating positive press in the process. In 2014, it held a clothing swap, giving away old Patagonia items. Five years ago, it famously ran a campaign called "Don't Buy This Jacket." Emphasizing its prioritization of activism over sales, the company also closed all of its stores on Election Day this year to ensure all employees could vote.
For more information on Patagonia's 100% for the Planet movement or to get involved in its grassroots initiatives, head to Patagonia.com.