[Forbes]: Patagonia Takes A Human-Centric Approach To Business

A New Humanistic Brand Concept & The Meaning Of Sustainability

Dr. Martina Olbert
7 min readJan 1, 2022


Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear brand, has always marched to its own drummer. From its “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad in the New York Times NYT +0.2%, using Black Friday sales not to line its pockets but to give back to environmental causes, and its self-imposed “Earth tax” which donates 1% of all sales to environmental nonprofits, Patagonia’s mission is to make the world a better place for all living in it.

In keeping with its commitment “not to be bound by convention,” Patagonia just announced it was closing all stores, offices and warehouses in the U.S. and Canada from December 25 through January 2 “because our people need a break,” the company said in a statement.

While its website will still be open, it warned shipments will be delayed till after the holiday week. It doesn’t say so, but we can assume all employees will get paid time off since it is taking this action to “look out for people.”

Because Patagonia is a private company, there’s no way to know how many dollars it is giving up by being closed but the typical sporting goods store generated about 60% more sales in a December week last year than during a typical week the other 11 months. For clothing stores, it was even higher, 85% more.

Taking care of business is taking care of people

Needless to say, Patagonia is putting its money where its mouth is. It’s more than commendable. It is truly remarkable. While every other retail brand cares about its customers, more or less, Patagonia cares about people, including its own people.

It’s a variation on the “waiter rule,” whereby a person’s character can be judged by how they treat servers in restaurants. The same applies to companies.

A good company treats its employees well, not just as impersonal automatons to use for profit. Retail employees so respectfully rewarded will give back to their employers and their customers.

It’s one of the fixes retailers can make to their current employment gap. In November, retail employment was 176,000 lower than pre-pandemic February…



Dr. Martina Olbert

Humanist, Futurist, Thinker, Speaker, Strategist, and Social scientist. Laying the foundations for Humanistic Capitalism using business to drive social change.

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