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Santa Barbara, CA – The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) – one of the nation’s longest-running nonprofit law firms working to protect California’s coast and the earth’s climate – today announced that its 2023 Environmental Hero award will be presented to Patagonia, Inc.  

EDC is delighted to honor Ventura-based Patagonia for its longstanding commitment to responsible business and action to protect nature and biodiversity, support thriving communities and fight the climate crisis. Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert will accept the award at EDC’s annual fundraising event, Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration, on June 11th at the Stow House in Goleta, CA. The award presentation will be followed by an interview-style conversation between Ryan and Leah Stokes, UCSB Professor of Political Science and a leading expert in energy, climate, and environmental politics.  

“If we are going to save our ‘Home Planet,’ as Patagonia calls it, we are all going to have to work together to make change — as individuals, as conservation organizations, and as businesses,” EDC Executive Director Alex Katz said. “Patagonia has pushed boundaries to redefine how a business can operate. Rather than just extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, Patagonia is using the wealth it creates to protect the source.” 

“For the past 50 years, Patagonia has modeled a different version of a for-profit business,” notes Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia. “We have a lot to be proud of, but we can’t get sentimental while also facing the threats of the climate and ecological crisis. As we continue this experiment of running a responsible company, we’re committed to using every tool we have available to scale our impact on behalf of protecting the natural world including supporting local grassroots organizations like the Environmental Defense Center.” 

In 1985, Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, created 1% for the Planet, and the company has donated 1% of its revenue every year since, donating more than $140 million to grassroots environmental nonprofits like EDC. Patagonia has also become directly involved in issues facing our local environment and communities, including joining EDC and a coalition of environmental and recreation groups in a lawsuit challenging a commercial logging project in the Los Padres National Forest that would destroy cultural and natural resources, habitat for endangered wildlife, and some of our communities’ treasured recreational areas. 

In late 2022, the Chouinard Family announced they were creating a new corporate model by “making Earth their only shareholder.” Rather than selling the company or taking it public, they transferred ownership to a specially designated trust and a nonprofit organization created to ensure the company remains independent, and that every dollar not reinvested back into Patagonia will be distributed to protect nature and fight climate change.  

EDC’s Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration will take place on June 11, from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m., in the beautiful gardens at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta, CA. This event brings together around 500 guests from across the tri-county region to raise critical funds for the organization to continue its work protecting the region’s clean air and water, open space and agricultural lands, marine resources and wildlife, and our climate for generations to come. The event will feature a silent auction full of unique items, an exciting live auction, food and beverages, and a short program honoring this year’s Environmental Hero.  

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