5 or 6 years ago I stood in a book store in Hawaii in the business section. I noticed a book called ‘Let my people go surfing‘ and bought it. I didn’t open it, didn’t read the back cover, but figured any business book with a title like that should be read. And what a fantastic read it was.

It’s the story of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, the well known outdoor clothing company. The book is described on Amazon.com:

In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth.

FastCompany had a post last week that caught my attention, Patagonia, A Trailblazing Brand That Walks The Walk. Patagonia are known for the extreme lengths they go to for the environment. They ran a full page advert in the New York Times, for Black Friday, asking people NOT to buy their best selling jacket because too much water and energy was used in making it. Their message was simply that best thing you can do for the environment on Black Friday was not to buy anything you didn’t need. Their best selling product included.

Patagonia are involved in many such initiatives, such as their Common Threads initiative:

Common Threads aims to minimize the environmental cost of clothing through its programs to reduce, repair, reuse, and recycle clothing. Repair clothing by returning your items to Patagonia to have the clothing repaired at nominal cost. Reuse clothing by donating clothing to charity, selling clothing through eBay’s Common Threads site, or on the Patagonia website. Patagonia will give unsold items to someone in need. Recycle clothing by returning recyclable items to bins, and the raw material will be recycled into new Patagonia clothing.

Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia continue to be as inspring today as they were when I first encountered them in that book many years ago.