Today is #GivingTuesday. In that spirit, we’re applauding Patagonia for a record-setting philanthropic push last week—an effort that raised $10 million for charities focused on protecting the environment. And it all happened on Black Friday, of all days.
The Ventura, California–based retailer had promised to donate every penny of its Black Friday sales to helping save the environment. Customers—many of whom were first-time buyers with the brand—responded in a HUGE way, buying $10 million worth of stuff. Patagonia announced the record haul Monday and vowed to donate the haul to hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations around the world.
In a statement, the company said the one-day sales figure was five times what it expected and noted that the money generated from its Black Friday initiative will go to grassroots environmental groups that are “working on the front lines to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations.”
Many of the eventual recipients are small, underfunded, and under the radar; a (yet-to-be-determined) number of groups will receive small grants to extend and amplify their respective missions.
According to an article on Huffington Post, the idea for the fund-raiser emerged from an internal brainstorming meeting following Election Day. Given the incoming administration’s stance on environmental issues, Patagonia employees wanted to encourage customers to participate in some sort of campaign to spotlight the importance of environmental stewardship and fighting climate change.
This isn’t Patagonia’s first foray into environmental stewardship. Since 1985, the company has donated 1 percent of its daily global sales to green causes—a commitment that resulted in $7.1 million in donations during the last fiscal year. What’s more, Patagonia founder and CEO Yvon Chouinard is considered one of the pioneers of Corporate Social Responsibility, an intra-industry initiative to take responsibility for business effects on the environment and social welfare.
Kudos, Patagonia. Thanks for putting our money where your mouth is. We’re proud to work with you.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.