ASB MAGAZINE: Six weeks ago, Patagonia closed their retail stores for the health and safety of employees and customers.  Patagonia were amongst the first companies in our industry to take decisive action around lockdown and social distancing, store closures and work from home measures, they are also one of the first to return. As of the 25th of May, all Patagonia retail stores are open with additional safety measures in line with the Australian Government, Department of Health and Safe Work Australia recommendations.


These have been some incredibly challenging times but Dane O’Shanassy, Country Director of Patagonia Australia and New Zealandannounced that as of this week, all Australian stores are now open.


“A lot of people have been affected, many with devastating consequences. In Australia we’ve largely been lucky. Our health crisis has been well handled and we’ve not seen the impact on our community like manly other countries have, and we’re thankful for the hard work of our front-line health and essential service workers… At Patagonia we’ve been able to continue our work from home, to service our customers through our website and use this time to reimagine our business in the future” said Dane O’Shanassy, Country Director of Patagonia Australia and New Zealand, in a recent LinkedIn post.


Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario also recently spoke with The New York Times about the steps the company is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from supporting employees to continuing to prioritize the planet, during a tour of the company’s global distribution center.


Beyond the pragmatics of returning to trade and commerce, Patagonia and the ‘purpose-business community’ is calling for a systemic change to the way our economy sets its sole focus on profits and disregards quality of life or the environment. While companies and governments work to rebuild in this ‘new normal’ many business leaders are demanding an end to the myth that profits must come at the expense of purpose, caring, and environmental care. Patagonia Director of Philosophy Vincent Stanley was also interviewed by Forbes for the story ‘Lessons From Patagonia: Stay Outspoken On Climate And Policy For Success And Social Change’.


Stanley co-authored The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned from Patagonia’s First 40 Years  with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and more informally, he is Patagonia’s long-time chief storyteller.  We spoke to Vincent during his last visit to Australia here


As Patagonia get back to what they are calling ‘business as unusual’, the company will be following the direction of federal and state governments, limiting in-store numbers, supporting 1.5-metre distancing and have sanitization measures in place amongst other measures. Patagonia’s online stores are back in full swing with and continuing to cater to those shopping from home.