Patagonia is a company that I have interacted with frequently from as early on as freshman year and high school. Not only do I like their products but I have come to respect the policies which guide their business model. As a consumer of their products early on I now receive mailings, emails and other updates from them. Because of my interest in the company I went on to explore their policies through their website and read through employees personal accounts of what Patagonia does and stands for.
Patagonia strives to reduce their impact on the environment in a lot of ways, from the materials they select to the ways they break down those materials, and the energy they select to operate their facilities. Freeman would certainly see that Patagonia strongly would disagree with the Separation Thesis and operates based on the responsibility thesis.
“The basis for ethics, or the moral point of view, is that most people, most of the time, take, or want to take, responsibility for the effects of their actions on others. And, if they did not, then what we call “ethics” and morality would be meaningless.”
Freeman would see Patagonia agrees with the Stakeholder Theory and are “trying to do better strategic planning and try to take into account precisely those groups who… may be affected by the firms actions.” They are rebutting the managerial problems by creating meaningful work for their employees, giving them amazing opportunities to give back to the environment globally and supporting annual events like the Salmon Run (http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=1963). The self is very connected to the career at Patagonia and people like what they do and thats why they do it, its not a monetarily driven environment. Patagonia is a leader in environmental responsibility and the employees are community leaders as ambassadors for that.
On the other hand, Milton Freidman may view Patagonia differently. As products made by Patagonia are expensive he would argue their is a tax being implemented on the consumers. If Patagonia didn’t recycle and clean water and wasn’t a member of the Common Threads Partnership, and use solar and water energy, then yes maybe their clothing and things would be cheaper. However consumers know what they are supporting with purchasing Patagonia and certainly go looking to them for products that are connected with the environment. Therefore if the didn’t want to support it they would know to buy somewhere else. The business employees and executives all stand for one thing and have demonstrated over time that they can be trusted to use the profits they earn to make a difference. Potentially Milton would be able to see that but would certainly argue that there has to be waste by not making a direct donation and trust non-politcal, but business men and women to make the best decisions with they earn.