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Outside Business Journal

Patagonia Receives State Department Award for International Environmental Work

The company is one of six to receive the annual recognition

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Patagonia has won the U.S. Department of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in climate innovation, the company announced yesterday.

The Department of State awards six ACEs annually to U.S. companies operating internationally, focusing on those that show leadership and “whose operating practices and decision-making exemplify American values and international best practices,” according to a release. Patagonia was recognized for its conservation work in its namesake region of Patagonia in Argentina and Chile through its support of former Patagonia CEO and current board member Kristine Tompkins’ Tompkins Conservation

Patagonia has a responsibility to slow the climate crisis because our company and community is affected by it, and every part of our business contributes to it,” Patagonia director of Latin America Alex Perry tells Outside Business Journal. 

He adds that the company protected nearly 800,000 acres of land and 200,000 acres of sea in Argentina, and hopes the company can replicate similar work in other countries. 

“Patagonia demonstrates exemplary leadership through its work to protect land and sea in Argentina while also reducing carbon emissions and its own energy footprint,” says MaryKay Carlson, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires. “Patagonia’s work makes a difference to local communities and helps create a better environment for the next generation.”

Packaged fish purveyor Australis Aquaculture was the other recipient in the “climate innovation” category, recognized for its work in sustainable fishing in Vietnam. In the other two ACE categories for 2021, multinational conglomerate 3M and vaccine distributor Zipline Ghana won in the “health security” category for their respective work related to the pandemic. Mastercard’s India business and hat maker Purnaa won in the “economic inclusion” category for work related to farmer credit access and long-term employment opportunities in Nepal, respectively.  

For the work pertaining to this award, Patagonia was a key part of a campaign that resulted in the provincial government of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina banning salmon farming, which prevented contamination of the Beagle Channel at the country’s southern tip. 

Additionally, Patagonia partnered with Bureo (a 2016 ACE winner itself) to turn discarded fishing nets recovered from Argentinian waters into hat brims. 

Perry also says the company is working with partners in Europe to establish the continent’s first wild river park on the Vjosa River in Albania, expand marine protections in Australia, and protect old-growth forest in Alaska, among other efforts.

We urge other business leaders to not only reduce their carbon footprint but also to create the systemic change needed to tackle this existential threat to nature and humanity,” he says. “This award is proof that when local communities, nonprofits, businesses, and government leaders work together for common good, extraordinary outcomes will be recognized.”

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