On the heels of writing Paper 2, I found Jason McLennan’s talk about sustainability very intriguing. Basically, my paper outlines the ways in which Patagonia has committed to maintaining environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices, and explores them through a deontological approach to ethics. I talk a lot about the CEO, Yvon Chouinard, and not only the great vision he had for his company, but his unwavering determination to make his dreams a reality. Though it was only once a small company of only a few climbing buddies, Patagonia is one of the most successful outdoor apparel suppliers in the industry today.
I bring up Yvon Chouinard again because of the similarities I feel he shares with Jason McLennan. I am not saying that the two look the same or even act the same, but they both possess the drive to start a movement that is much bigger than themselves. Environmentalists from the start, both figures blazed their own paths toward a greener Earth.
Perhaps most importantly, I liked how Chouinard and McLennan both advocate for green movements that can (fairly easily) integrate into our existing society. By this I mean that, while innovative, I would not categorize their ideas as radical. For instance, Chouinard has already defied traditional businessmen everywhere by proving that a focus on sustainability does not have to threaten profitability. Today, the thriving company still aims to minimize its footprint through a variety of different initiatives (many of the Patagonia warehouses are working to achieve LEED approval, if they aren’t certified already). Similarly, McLennan is striving to convert our already existing buildings into self-sufficient structures (like flowers) through his Living Building Challenge. Though it will certainly be a “challenge,” I personally believe that McLennan’s is a realistic endeavor especially given the increasing capabilities of modern technology. These two revolutionaries are not suggesting we re-invent the wheel, but simply embrace an environmentally conscious lifestyle. Though Patagonia has a head start, do you think the green-building movement can also make a difference? Who knows…maybe a Chouinard/McLennan partnership might benefit both movements down the road?
Featured image: Business of Fun