It's the season of goodwill and giving so I wanted to share a story that has both of these attributes at its very core. It's also a story that is uplifting and I hope it fills you with as much optimism for the new year and the future, as it did for me.
It starts with a question about tax.
Yes I know! That doesn’t sound very goodwill at all, but bear with me.
How do you feel about the taxes you pay?
For many of us it’s a payment we make grudgingly, but ultimately most people recognise it as a necessary part of living in a society. In the words of Patagonia’s CEO Rose Marcario, “Taxes protect the most vulnerable in our society, our public lands and other life-giving resources”.
Needless to say it did not sit well with the outdoor apparel company when the Trump administration orchestrated a corporate tax cut, reducing the tax businesses pay by an amount considered to be the largest cut in US history.
That tax cut saved Patagonia a whopping US$10 million! But rather than pocketing this saving and recognising that the planet is in more need of help than their business, Patagonia announced that the full amount will be committed to non-profit environmental groups - protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis. In other words, they'e used the tax cut exactly how they believe it should have been used in the first place.
"In this season of giving, we are giving away this tax cut to the planet, our only home, which needs it now more than ever," Marcario said.
Who could have imagined a world where a business trumps their own government in understanding the responsibility they have to society?
Perhaps we have entered the dawn of a new world where business can be used as a really powerful force for good; not just through their corporate social responsibility actions, which in some (but not all) cases can be seen as a box ticking exercise. But rather as a genuine effort to do what is right and make a significant difference. To step up. To deliver on what many people believe their governments are failing to deliver on.
Patagonia is no stranger to living by this rule. Early this year the outdoor apparel company countered the President’s attempt to slash the Bears Ears Monument, a protected national park by 85%. Arguing that although The Antiquities Act of 1906 gave presidents the power to create national monuments, it certainly did not grant them the power to reduce them, Patagonia pledged to sue the president.
Gone are the days where government is for protection and business is for exploitation. We are upon a new era where businesses are becoming a force for good, and in doing so are attracting like-minded people in the form of super loyal and engaged employees, customers and partners.
In case you're wondering, Patagonia's social mission-led strategy is driving their financial success. According to Fast Company, Patagonia grows every time it amplifies its social mission. Its social mission energises its product innovation and marketing and grows the company's brand awareness and sales.
The more it invests in its beliefs and its products, the better Patagonia performs, develops creative solutions, and maps out a blueprint for other businesses, big and small, to follow. “Doing good work for the planet,” Marcario says, “creates new markets and makes [us] more money.” That’s the Patagonia way.
Enjoy your holidays and here's to a very happy, successful and fulfilling 2019 to each of you.
And remember - doing good is good for business.
So if you're not doing any good... what are you doing?