On April 26, President Trump signed an executive order that would potentially affect the status of national monuments. Rose Marcario, the CEO of outdoor clothing and gear retailer Patagonia, responded to the order in no uncertain terms.
“We’re watching the Trump administration’s actions very closely and preparing to take everystep necessary, including legal action, to defend our most treasured public landscapes from coast to coast,” she said in a statement.
The executive order would specifically put 25 national monuments – named protected lands under the 1906 Antiquities Act – under review, in danger of losing their status. A national monument has never had its protected status rescinded before, and it’s unclear if the laws allow such a maneuver.
For anyone familiar with Patagonia, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the company would go to these lengths to defend national monuments. According to Hans Cole, Patagonia’s director of environmental campaigns and advocacy, the work is integral to Patagonia’s mission.
“I would characterize this as some of our most important work, and really core to what Patagonia is all about,” Cole told Business Insider.
The company’s advocacy in protecting lands across America is not only charitable work for the company, but it has become essential to its business as well. After all, a company that sells gear meant to be used outdoors needs an attractive – and accessible – outdoors.
“If we want to have incredible places to go climbing and running and surfing and fishing, we’re going to have to get active, and be part of the public discourse and the effort to protect places out there where these things happen,” Cole said.
Bears Ears is a 1.3 million-acre piece of land in Utah that was named a national monument by former President Obama in December. It has become symbolic in the fight to save national monuments from losing their special status.
Patagonia has spearheaded and buoyed campaigns, both grassroots and larger, to protect the more than one million acres of land named after Bears Ears’ two signature mesas. It does this through a “1% for the planet” campaign, which entails donating 1% of total sales to these efforts. The company also produced an interactive short film about the land.
Patagonia says that the threat of the review triggered by Trump’s order is “real.”
“These are places that we rely on as a business and that our people truly love and have dedicated their lives to helping protect,” Corley Kenna, Patagonia’s director of communications, told Business Insider. “It’s a threat to those places. It’s a threat to this heritage we have as a nation.”
Kenna added that Patagonia’s advocacy is neither “partisan” nor “political.”
“We’ve never been shy about [our commitment to the environment], and we’re not going to be shy about it now,” she said.
Positive customer feedback has been pouring into Patagonia, including from both longtime customers and from those who have never shopped the brand before, but will in response to its support of public land, Kenna said.
“That’s what keeps us going and we feel really good about our decision to be engaged in this particular fight to defend this very special space,” she said.