Small Meets Big

Patagonia and Walmart Join Forces for the Environment

When Yvon Chouinard started rock climbing as a teenager, he never dreamed his passion would lead to the ownership of two companies and a lifelong passion for preserving the planet. But 55 years later, the climber-business person has joined forces with Walmart—a seemingly unlikely partner to spread the word that sustainability is cool.

Chouinard founded Chouinard Equipment to make safer, more environmentally friendly equipment for rock climbers and mountaineers. He didn’t like the way previous generations climbers had destroyed mountain environments. Patagonia, founded in 1972, offered the “soft” side of the outdoors specialized clothing, boots, packs, luggage, and other gear.

From the very beginning, Chouinard and his design team worked hard to develop products whose materials and manufacturing processes were eco-friendly. “The reason I am in business is I want to project love,” Chouinard explains. “I used to spend 250 days a year sleeping on the ground. I’ve climbed on every continent. I’m old enough to have seen the destruction.”

In fact, in the mid-1990s Chouinard discovered that the cotton Patagonia was using for many of its garments came from industrial farms that used toxic chemicals. His response was swift and definite. He gave his company just 18 months to change completely to organic cotton. Chouinard has also been successful at persuading other businesses to go green.

For the past few years, Chouinard’s team has been working with Walmart to develop a sustainability index for its products, sharing valuable information that Patagonia has gained over the years. Walmart is 1,300 times as large as Patagonia, but Patagonia has knowledge and experience that Walmart can use to reinvent itself as an environmentally responsible firm.

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Chouinard doesn’t mind sharing with a company that has such a monumental impact on the marketplace as well as the planet. And Walmart officials are eager to learn. The company plans to post scorecards in its stores, rating products on eco-friendliness and social impact. And it is developing a system to give preference to suppliers who comply with these steps.

At a conference of Walmart buyers and executives, Chouinard pointed out that Walmart’s use of little LED lights in its stores which seem to use minimal energy actually requires 19 plants in California to power tem. At this statement, a Walmart buyer stood in the audience and shouted, “We’re going to get rid of those!”

Questions for Critical Thinking

The alliance between Patagonia and Walmart is an excellent example of a smaller business and a huge firm working together to achieve an objective. Provide an example of the alliance of two companies that achieve the same objectives as Patagonia and Walmart. Discuss their results.

Do you think the same results would be possible if Walmart acquired Patagonia? Why or why not?
Walmart is learning from Patagonia. But what might Patagonia learn from Walmart?

This assignment provides you with the opportunity to synthesize and apply the concepts learned in this course to analyze a real-world business case. The analytical exercises will improve your understanding and ability to think critically about the importance of diversity management in the workplace.

Your report for solving the case must be at least 300 words with a Citation page, and must include the following headings:

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Overview – Summarizing the case scenario and identifying all the problems, issues, constraints, related to the case.
Discussion Questions – Answering all the questions.

Debriefing – Reflecting your thoughts, opinions, and solutions based on the case.

Last Updated on February 11, 2019 by EssayPro