Video: Rick Ridgeway at Opportunity Green

Posted on 20. Oct, 2010 by in Business & Policy

Rick Ridgeway presents Patagonia’s solutions to the environmental crisis at the 2010 Opportunity Green Business Conference.

“If we don’t change the path we’re on now…the planet will die.”

That is the warning Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Environmental Programs and Special Media Projects at Patagonia, heeded in his presentation at the Opportunity Green business conference. In line with Patagonia’s mission to make product without causing unnecessary environmental harm, Ridgeway unveiled Patagonia’s newest environmental protection initiative, Freedom to Roam. Based on the idea of landscape connectivity, Patagonia has set out to build awareness of an inevitable “diminishing diversity” of species and connect policy-makers and corporations emotionally to what it is they are being asked to protect. The Freedom to Roam model requires (and is gradually receiving) the support and involvement of state and federal governments, conservation groups, corporations and citizens.

Who is M3?

M3 is a “badass” wolverine whose migratory path was tracked to help understand and define one wildlife corridor. The Freedom to Roam program was set up to engage both corporations and citizens in the effort to help create and sustain wildlife corridors that will protect the natural migratory paths of species on the American continent. The three areas of Freedom to Roam include:
• Business to Wildlife – corporations connecting habitat for wildlife, including what some see as a controversial, partnership with BP
• Witness for Wildlife – launched just this fall with over 1400 volunteers already registered to go out into wilderness corridors to collect data
• Soldier Naturalist Program – a partnership with the Department of Defense where military base personnel assist with wildlife protection

“Earth” Tax…an admirable way Patagonia gives back to the environment

If only every corporation took Patagonia’s lead. In addition to its Freedom to Roam program to protect wildlife migratory corridors, Patagonia created what it calls its “Earth Tax”. Each year, the company takes 1% of its sales (that’s sales, NOT revenue!) off the top, in effect creating its own NGO that provides grants to over 430 different environmental groups. To date, the “Earth Tax” has raised over $40 million dollars and more than 1500 companies have adopted this model.

For more information on Patagonia and/or the Freedom to Roam initiative, visit

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