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Former Patagonia CEO Kris Tompkins Declares That Sustainability is Essential

by Shawna Rodgers |

CCOF Foundation Visionary-level supporter Patagonia has long championed environmental causes and is now turning its attention, voice, and financial support toward supporting organic agriculture. In 2019, Patagonia Action Works, which connects Patagonia enthusiasts with environmental nonprofits, launched a matching gift program. As a result of this program, the CCOF Foundation received an additional $20,000 in funds from Patagonia. Patagonia doubled the generous gifts of fellow CCOF Foundation supporters Sweet Earth Foods, Braga Fresh, and New Hope Network. These funds were critical in continuing to advance the mission of our nonprofit during the coronavirus pandemic that hit the United States less than four months later.

With global concerns regarding immune health at the forefront of our minds, consumers are choosing organic more than ever, and the organic sector continues to develop as faith in  organic farming methods grows. More people are waking up to the fact that the most valuable asset anyone has in this life is their health. As members of a global citizenry living on a planet that is facing environmental crisis, it is only natural that we partner with trusted industry professionals to create solutions. In the case of climate change and organic farming, Patagonia is one of the industry partners leading the way.  

In a recent interview with, former CEO Kris Tompkins shared her perspective: “Ethical choices are in everything from sourcing product and manufacturing to running a company with fair hiring practices, flexibility for families, etc.” Tompkins reminds us of the true cost of the products we purchase and the food that we consume: “We need to think about the real cost it takes to produce something, or run events, travel, or whatever it is you’re doing. There are obvious costs, but what about the carbon footprint? If we always consider the big picture, perhaps we would be less growth-oriented, and more concerned with lasting quality and real value.” 

During the global supply chain disruption that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, Patagonia reminds us that some of the most valuable assets a company can have are healthy employees, a robust health insurance package, and a more regionalized supply chain and community of consumers. 

Tompkins eludes to an equity component of sustainability, telling ISPO, “those with the most resources usually leave the biggest footprint, and those with the fewest have less environmental impact, simply by consuming less. The world’s disadvantaged populations also disproportionately suffer from having to live in a polluted, degraded environment. … I would not call conservation a first world thing. It’s having respect for the planet we’ve inherited and making sure our descendants and future species have clean air, water, and a healthy natural environment.” 

Patagonia recently partnered with the CCOF Foundation and the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation to produce the Roadmap to an Organic California: Benefits Report and Policy Report, which detail the environmental, health, and economic benefits of doubling California’s organic farmland by 2030.

More information about the Roadmap to an Organic California can be found on our Roadmap page

Sources Cited: (2020, July 30). “Interview With Former Patagonia CEO Kris Tompkins.” A Life for Patagonia: “Founders Need to Think About the Big Picture.”