Patagonia clothing company CEO Michael Crooke will address GW business students Wednesday about the “ReEvolution of Business: Strategies of the 21st Century.”
Crooke said in an interview that he plans to discuss the three facets he believes create a successful, sustainable business in today’s economic climate: environmental, social and financial aspects of a company.
“When you have those synergies, the synchronization creates an energy that is very, very hard to describe,” he said.
Producing outdoor and technical clothing and known for environmental responsibility, Patagonia ranks 41 on Fortune magazines 100 best companies to work for.
“Our employees want to do more; they want to be a part of something great,” said Crooke, a former Navy SEAL who has been CEO of the company since 1999. “The purpose statement is ‘use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.'”
Patagonia contributes to a myriad of environmental causes worldwide, including the efforts of former CEO Kristine McDivitt Tompkins to protect land in Argentina’s Patagonia region by purchasing acres of wilderness.
Crooke said Patagonia donates $2.4 million to about 300 different environmental groups every year and contributes clothing and gear to grassroots organizations.
Current projects include an 18-month campaign against genetic engineering and action against drilling in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Patagonia also supports D.C. activist groups such as American Lands Alliance, the Center for Food Safety, the Environmental Support Center and the Nuclear Information and Resource Center.
The company also supports its employees, who Crooke described as outdoor enthusiasts and environmentalists, in two-month environmental internships with full salaries.
Crooke will speak at 4:45 p.m. in Funger 103. The event is sponsored by GW’s Graduate Environmental Professional Association and will include a raffle for Patagonia clothing.