Patagonias Founder Is Americas Most Unlikely Business Guru #ethicalbusniesspratices
A couple of years ago, Yvon Chouinardfounder of the outdoor-clothing brand Patagoniagave a talk at a sustainable-fisheries conference in Vancouver. Hed been invited to speak in recognition of Patagonias longtime commitment to environmental issues and its reputation as a company that manages to churn out profit while minimizing ecological impact. Chouinard delivered his spiel, but he came away frustrated by the surprising ignorance of his audience. They didnt know what they were doing, he says of the seafood merchants. They had no idea about toxins, about incidental catch. Their customers are all going to want to know this stuff soon. Restaurants will want to know.
So, despite having zero background in the food business, Chouinard decided to launch his own salmon fishery. Patagonia Provisions, which debuted at the beginning of April, sells packets of salmon jerky ($12.50 for two ounces) next to rain jackets, hiking pants and organic cotton shirts. The salmon is caught in British Columbias Skeena River, using traditional equipment that the company describes as First Nations fish wheels and dip nets. Chouinard has so far poured $1.3 million into this curious experiment. He isnt sure when hell make it back. I cant help myself, he says. I just want to show the fishing industry how it can be done.
If you cant help but feel inspired, read the rest of this article in the Wall Street Journal.