Patagonia Public Affairs Director Kevin Sweeney was ruminating recently about his company's staunch environmentalism. Patagonia's green agenda, he said, helps attract and keep quality employees and makes people proud to work for the company. "So many institutions in our society have broken down," Sweeney said. "People need to belong to something."
Patagonia's ambitious recycling effort symbolizes the outlook of many of the company's 425 local employees. "To the people who work here, it's an important part of who we are and what we want," said Paul Tebbel, who oversees Patagonia's environmental donations. "It's what we do in our houses and it's what we want to do here."
For those who want to do even more there is Team Hedgehog, a coterie of Patagonia employees dedicated to environmental beneficence. Seven months old, the group is 20 members strong and growing.
Last summer, the Hedgehogs devoted a Saturday to sorting recyclable plastic waste at Patagonia's distribution center. Another weekend they collected litter from local beaches. With the company's blessing and gratitude, a group of Hedgehogs spent part of one workday preparing mailings to more than 1,500 companies, asking them to stop sending Patagonia their product catalogues.