Patagonia Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard to speak Monday
Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia Inc., will deliver the 2006-07 Conradin von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, in Bishop Auditorium at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
A reception will follow. The lecture is free and open to the university community, but seating is limited. Early registration is recommended at http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/pmp/events/cvg_yvon06.html.
The event is sponsored by the Business School's Public Management Program and the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford.
Chouinard "has been a real pioneer in developing a truly inspiring philosophy of sustainability and incorporating it into his company," said Rosamond L. Naylor, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute and director of the Program on Food Security and the Environment, a collaboration between the university's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Woods Institute.
Naylor cited Chouinard's book, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman (Penguin Press, 2005), in which he wrote: "All decisions of the company are made in the context of the environmental crisis. We must strive to do no harm. Whenever possible, our acts should serve to decrease the problem. Our activities in this area will be under constant evaluation and re-assessment as we seek constant improvement."
Chouinard began in business by designing, manufacturing and distributing rock-climbing equipment in the late 1950s. In 1964, he produced his first mail-order catalog. Today, his clothing and travel gear company combines a strong consumer business with an environmental focus, including the "Earth Tax"—the 1 percent of sales the company donates for the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.
"Given Patagonia's continued financial success coupled with its bold leadership in integrating environmental sustainability into its core business operations, Yvon Chouinard was a logical choice for this year's speaker," said Jennifer Ratay, associate director of the Public Management Program. "Stanford MBA students are currently examining how sustainability initiatives can improve companies' financial bottom lines through a year-long Pubic Management Initiative case study titled, 'Greening the Bottom Line.'"
The Conradin von Gugelberg Memorial Fund supports the annual lecture series and promotes an environmental ethic among Business School students and alumni. Members of the Stanford MBA Class of 1987 established the fund to honor a classmate and committed environmentalist who died shortly after graduation.
Previous lecturers have included former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrators Carol Browner and William Reilly; former U.S. Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo.; Barbara Dudley of Greenpeace; and Business School alumnus Lord John Browne of BP.