Patagonia Took Its $10m From Tax Cut And Gave It To The Planet
"It is said that you can't take it with you; I say there are two things you can take with you: the things you do for others and the things you do to others."
- Harold H. Cornett, Jr.
Ten million dollars were donated by the clothing company Patagonia (founded in 1973) to help the fight against climate change.
This significant amount invested in protecting our planet is the result of how much Patagonia could save in 2017. Those savings were possible after President Donald Trump cut corporate taxes (from 35% to 21%). Trump announced that this tax break was meant to be invested in corporations' workers, but Patagonia chose a different path.
Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, wrote in a letter last November:
"Our Urgent Gift to the Planet
Based on last year's irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year—$10 million less, in fact. Instead of putting the money back into our business, we're responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do.
Our home planet is facing its greatest crisis because of human-caused climate disruption. All the extra heat we've trapped in the earth's atmosphere is not only melting the poles and raising sea levels, it's intensifying drought and accelerating the extinction of species. The most recent Climate Assessment report puts it in stark terms: the U.S. economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars, and the climate crisis is already affecting all of us. Mega-fires. Toxic algae blooms. Deadly heat waves and deadly hurricanes. Far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate—and the denial is just evil."
Since Trump applied this tax cut in 2017, some of the biggest corporations in the World won astounding savings. Needless to say, this tax reduction helped the U.S. economy to grow as fast as a spaceship during the four years that followed.
However, Rose Marcario considered this tax cut as thoughtless:
"We have always paid our fair share of federal and state taxes. Being a responsible company means paying your taxes in proportion to your success and supporting your state and federal governments, which in turn contribute to the health and well-being of civil society. Taxes fund our important public services, our first responders and our democratic institutions. Taxes protect the most vulnerable in our society, our public lands and other life-giving resources. In spite of this, the Trump administration initiated a corporate tax cut, threatening these services at the expense of our planet."
Meanwhile, Trump was skeptical after receiving a climate change report from his own government. The report made clear that the U.S. will have to spend - yearly - hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.
This was actually part of what led Patagonia's decision to move forward with its donation.
"We recognize that our planet is in peril. We are committing all $10 million to groups committed to protecting air, land and water, and finding solutions to the climate crisis. We have always funded grassroots activism, and this $10 million will be on top of our ongoing 1% for the Planet giving. It will go a long way toward funding grassroots groups; including those dedicated to regenerative organic agriculture, which may be our greatest hope for reversing the damage done to our overheated planet.
In this season of giving, we are giving away this tax cut to the planet, our only home, which needs it now more than ever."
Some people may indeed think Patagonia should have shared the bonanza with its workers. Still, the truth is that Patagonia is already famous for its generosity to its whole staff. Nevertheless, this exceptional act of generosity can be seen as a pay raise to our planet and each and one of us.
Keywords: Patagonia, tax cuts, climate change, Donald Trump, donation