"Every time we've made a decision to do the right thing," says Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, "it ends up being good business." The company clocked $500 million in 2011 sales, growing almost 30% in each of the past two years—all while setting the bar for sustainability. Highlights:
Patagonia got 24,000 people to pledge to buy less and buy used; it also partnered with eBay to make it easy for people to take the pledge and then buy and sell gear from one another. Customers have resold 15,000 Patagonia pieces for $500,000 so far. "Smart consumption is built around resource conservation," says Rick Ridgeway, VP of environmental initiatives.
Thirty global apparel companies, including Nike and Walmart, joined this coalition, which Patagonia organized to set sustainable best practices.
An online platform lets artists such as Pearl Jam donate unreleased tracks, with net proceeds benefiting their favorite environmental charities.
To spotlight sustainable fishing practices, the company will launch an organic wild-salmon jerky this year.
Photograph by Flickr user Dietmar Temps