The Economics of Environmentalism
Natalie Schmidt
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Patagonia may be so much of a special case that it doesn’t really indicate an opportunity for sustainable environmentalism throughout manufacturing. Most companies don’t have an obsessively green customer base, and most companies are not nearly as visible to their customers as a retailer — especially one that sells products worn by the customers with the company logo prominently displayed. Most industrial managers don’t have an opportunity to leverage pro-green sentiment, nor do they face the constraints imposed by a fickle and demanding constituency. So I would suggest that Patagonia is not an example of how a major polluter can be transformed into a sustainably ecological organization. It’s just a case of special circumstances that do not exist for 99% of real manufacturers.

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