Patagonia Launches Vote the Environment Campaign

Patagonia Inc., one of the earliest corporate sustainability leaders, is launching a Vote the Environment campaign to  educate customers on candidates’ environmental records, and encourage them to vote.

People can even register to vote on Patagonia’s website.

Patagonia is partnering with the rock band, Wilco, voter registration group, HeadCount, and the League of Conservation Voters to achieve the campaign’s objectives.

"Given the current state of American politics, it’s easy to see why people become disillusioned and don’t participate in the system," says Jeff Tweedy, Wilco’s lead singer, "But my hope, and my reason for this partnership with Patagonia, is to remind people that they do have a voice, and voting is an effective and undeniable way to be heard. And nature, while powerful, needs our voices and votes to protect and preserve it."

Patagonia is one of 24 corporations who just signed the Valuing Natural Capital initiative at Rio+20, agreeing to develop an ecological accounting model that sets a financial value on the world’s forests, freshwater and marine systems.

The company will also launch a Twitter campaign around the hashtag #becauseilove. People at Wilco rock shows, in Patagonia retail stores and online will be encouraged to tweet messages and images that complete the sentence "I vote the environment because I love …" in order to personalize the environmental issues at stake in this election.

The #becauseilove tweets will be displayed in real-time at Wilco shows, in Patagonia stores across the country and online at Patagonia.com thanks to a technology partnership with Austin-based social integration company Mass Relevance.

The social media component is designed to get people thinking about what aspect of the environment matters most to them, and inspire voting that preserves what they love.

"People protect what they love. It’s time to hold our candidates accountable to environmental issues: if you care about clean air and water, how do the candidates on the national, state and local levels measure up on those topics? Get informed before casting your vote," says Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard.

Vote the Environment and HeadCount will accompany Wilco on tour this summer, with a booth at each US-based show. Wilco  donated an exclusive version of their song "Whole Love" – the title track from their Grammy-nominated album, The Whole Love, to HeadCount. 

Since 1996, Patagonia, which sells outdoor apparel, has used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line. Committed to making its products landfill-free and reducing needless consumption – even of its own products, it launched a Common Threads Initiative on eBay, where people can buy and sell used Patagonia clothes.

This January, it was one of the first companies to register as a California "Benefit Corporation," a new class of corporation for businesses whose mission is to operate in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

In 2002, Yvon Chouinard founded 1% for the Planet, a global network of businesses that donate 1% of sales to the environment. It has 1,400 member companies in 44 countries.

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