Patagonia breaks new ground with its very public stand

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

Patagonia breaks new ground with its very public stand

By Marianne Wilson - 10/23/2018
Patagonia has made its first-ever political endorsements.

Hundreds of retail companies quietly support political candidates and parties through political action committees. But Patagonia has come out publicly to endorse two Democratic candidates: Jacky Rosen, who is running for Senate in Nevada, and Senator Jon Tester who is running for re-election in Montana.

“It may be the first time that a for-profit corporation has come out with an endorsement on their website for political candidates,” said Peter Quist, the research director at the National Institute on Money in Politics, in a report by Montana Public Radio.

The outdoor clothing and gear s brand is featuring both endorsements on its website and social media, and in customer e-mails. In a statement on its website, Patagonia said its endorsements were not borne out of a desire to get into partisan politics. Instead, it referenced its longstanding support of environmental causes and the urgent need to see “wild places” protected for future generations.

“The company is endorsing candidates for the first time this year because of the urgent and unprecedented threats to our public lands and waters,” Patagonia stated. “Nevada and Montana are two states where Patagonia has significant company history and a long record of conservation accomplishments, and where the stakes are too high to stay silent.”

In its announcement, the company noted that hundreds of corporations back political candidates, but “the difference with our activism is that we put our logo on it.”

While Patagonia has never endorsed a specific candidate before, it has long been an active supporter of civic engagement. On Election Day 2016, it closed all its retail stores and distribution centers and gave employees a paid day off to vote. It is doing the same this year, on Nov. 6.

“And this time, we’re actively encouraging other companies to join us,” Patgonia CEO Rose Marcario said in a blog post in June. “Because no American should have to choose between a paycheck and fulfilling his or her duty as a citizen.”