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  • Ryan Gellert has been CEO at Patagonia since September 2020.
  • In an interview with Insider, he talks about the company’s commitment to sustainability.
  • He also talks about leadership in the post-George Floyd era: “It’s been a hell of a learning curve.”

As CEO of Patagonia, Ryan Gellert wrestles with a paradox: The outdoor-gear maker’s good works, philanthropy, and intentions are still not enough to justify its existence.

“You could really argue that the world would be better off without us in it,” said Gellert, who took the reins at Patagonia in September 2020. “We take more from the planet then we give back.”

It’s an unusual sentiment from a CEO, but of course he’s speaking Patagonia’s language. Founded nearly 50 years ago by Yvon Chouinard — the rock climber, environmental advocate, and reluctant billionaire — Patagonia is well known for its commitment to sustainability. And its price point. There’s a reason, after all, the company is sometimes referred to as, “Pata-Gucci.”

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