Patagonia Opposes TPP

CEO, Rose Marcario, CEO  /  3 Min Read  /  Our Footprint

By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO

Map

Now that full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been made public, we can say unequivocally that we oppose it, as it advances the interests of big business at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses. This confirms our previous fears (here and here) about the agreement’s serious social and environmental costs.

The proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, crafted behind closed doors over a five-year period, may indeed cut tariffs, increase trade and build closer economic and regulatory relationships among its signatories, as its proponents say. But it will also weaken worldwide labor standards, harm the global environment, diminish regulatory safeguards and enable corporations and individuals that already have far too much influence gain even more at the expense of everyone else.

Map: The Footprint Chronicles®

The proposed trade agreement was released to the public on Nov. 5 and is now available for review and modification before Congress votes on it some months from now. Countries that are party to the agreement include: the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru, which together represent about 800 million people and 40 percent of global trade.

Why would Patagonia oppose a trade deal that likely would benefit our bottom line? Because beyond being in business to make money, we’re a mission-driven company working to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. We also seek to promote better, safer and healthier living and working conditions for the people who make our clothing and gear. And we want to see full transparency in the workings of business and government.

We see none of those things in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Experience tells us that trade agreements tend to serve the few and the monied at the expense of others. These deals are often opaque (often intentionally so) and rife with unknown or unspoken consequences. We saw this with NAFTA and GATT, which eviscerated the U.S. textile industry, greatly limiting our company’s ability to make products here at home.

At Patagonia, we design and market clothing, gear and food, relying heavily on the expertise of trusted partners to produce them. We also partner with NGOs and individuals in the environmental, conservation, wildlife, labor and agriculture communities who study agreements like the TPP to measure their effects on the greater good. Here are a few of their concerns, which we share. You can find more robust discussions online.

  • TPP Lacks Transparency: The proposed agreement was created behind closed doors, influenced heavily by corporate lobbyists and lawyers representing those who stand to benefit most.
  • TPP Promotes Fossil Fuels: The words “climate change” do not appear anywhere in the agreement, demonstrating real disregard for the most pressing environmental problem we face. TPP promotes domestic exportation of liquefied natural gas, encouraging even more fracking here at home and expanding the use of climate-changing fossil fuels worldwide at the expense of renewable energy.
  • TPP Threatens Food Safety: The agreement would erode efforts to protect consumers and improve food safety, sovereignty and labeling. Instead it benefits today’s widespread model of industrial agriculture and food production based on GMOs, synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and additives.
  • TPP Weakens Labor Protections: The agreement defends labor standards but offers no new requirements for countries to enforce such standards among suppliers.
  • TPP Fails to Protect Wildlife: The agreement does little to protect wildlife habitat, address illegal wildlife trade or fight poaching.
  • TPP Threatens Legal Protections: Investor-State Dispute Settlement, which is used in TPP and other trade agreements, allows foreign companies to challenge domestic laws and regulations written to protect U.S. consumers and communities. Instead of U.S. courts arbitrating those disputes, the job would fall to the World Bank or a division of the United Nations.

As Congress considers TPP, we must ask, who benefits? Does it serve the many, in our country and abroad, or only a few—those who have the economic and political muscle to get their interests written, opaquely and without public oversight, into law? We oppose TPP because the costs for the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses would outweigh any potential gains. We encourage individuals to contact their elected representatives in Washington and voice these concerns.

Related Stories

How We’re Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
Ever since Patagonia had an office (and wasn’t just selling gear out of the back of Yvon’s car), we’ve devoted desk space, our free time and a percentage of our sales to protecting wild nature. From our travels, we knew our land, air and water was in real trouble from short-sighted profiteers. Over the years,…
Ever since Patagonia had an office (and wasn’t just selling gear out of the back of Yvon’s car), we’ve devoted desk space, our free time and a percentage of our sales to protecting wild nature. From our travels, we knew our land, air and water was in real trouble from short-sighted profiteers. Over the years,…
Patagonia
6 min Read
Giving Workers More of a Voice
Behind everything we make is the hard work of a human being—from growing raw materials and weaving fabric to cutting and sewing the finished product. Yet those who work in garment factories—and, globally, more than 60 million people do—have historically been subject to substandard working conditions and unable to report those issues. That’s why, in…
Behind everything we make is the hard work of a human being—from growing raw materials and weaving fabric to cutting and sewing the finished product. Yet those who work in garment factories—and, globally, more than 60 million people do—have historically been subject to substandard working conditions and unable to report those issues. That’s why, in…
Rachel G. Horn
7 min Read
Finding Moral Certainty for Businesses in an Uncertain World
Over the past few months, the business environment has changed dramatically. I’m not talking about trade policy or tax reform, but rather the heightened moral and ethical uncertainty many business leaders now feel at a time when the foundations of our democracy are challenged. New injustices seem to arise almost every day, demanding we speak…
Over the past few months, the business environment has changed dramatically. I’m not talking about trade policy or tax reform, but rather the heightened moral and ethical uncertainty many business leaders now feel at a time when the foundations of our democracy are challenged. New injustices seem to arise almost every day, demanding we speak…
CEO Rose Marcario, CEO
3 min Read
What Do We Know About Tiny Plastic Fibers in the Ocean?
Much has been written about the effects of plastic on the marine environment, from the Texas-sized Great Pacific garbage patch, to bottles expelled from cruise ships washed up on the beach, to “ghost” nets and weirs abandoned by factory-sized trawlers, and more. A new report on marine plastics was presented at the World Economic Forum earlier…
Much has been written about the effects of plastic on the marine environment, from the Texas-sized Great Pacific garbage patch, to bottles expelled from cruise ships washed up on the beach, to “ghost” nets and weirs abandoned by factory-sized trawlers, and more. A new report on marine plastics was presented at the World Economic Forum earlier…
Patagonia
6 min Read
The View from Europe: Say No to TTIP
This past week Greenpeace leaked 248 pages of negotiating texts and internal position papers that reveal a deep rift among the 28 European governments, the European Union and the U.S., involved in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The Greenpeace report has caused an uproar here in Europe, including an announcement of opposition…
This past week Greenpeace leaked 248 pages of negotiating texts and internal position papers that reveal a deep rift among the 28 European governments, the European Union and the U.S., involved in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The Greenpeace report has caused an uproar here in Europe, including an announcement of opposition…
Ryan Gellert
3 min Read
Our Earth Tax – Patagonia Environmental + Social Initiatives 2015
In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work but they make up just 2% of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50% of all environmental grants and donations. Meanwhile, funding the environmental…
In the conventional model of philanthropy, the big funders—corporations and foundations—mainly support big professional environmental groups. The large national organizations (those with budgets over $5 million) are doing important work but they make up just 2% of all environmental groups, yet receive more than 50% of all environmental grants and donations. Meanwhile, funding the environmental…
Patagonia
4 min Read
TPP? One global business says, “No thanks.”
By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO Patagonia opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and Fast Track approval. We stand to gain financially from TPP and the potential duty relief on products made within the region, but the minor potential gains are not worth the social and environmental costs. We have listened closely to the Administration’s…
By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO Patagonia opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and Fast Track approval. We stand to gain financially from TPP and the potential duty relief on products made within the region, but the minor potential gains are not worth the social and environmental costs. We have listened closely to the Administration’s…
CEO Rose Marcario, CEO
3 min Read
Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2010 E-Book – Flip Through Our Year-in-Review
Working to protect and restore the natural world can be a dynamic endeavor. To capture the energy that goes into this work, we bring you an enhanced electronic version of our Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2010 booklet. View a fireside chat with Patagonia founder and environmentalist-in-chief Yvon Chouinard, accompany world-renowned photographer Florian Schulz as he sheds…
Working to protect and restore the natural world can be a dynamic endeavor. To capture the energy that goes into this work, we bring you an enhanced electronic version of our Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2010 booklet. View a fireside chat with Patagonia founder and environmentalist-in-chief Yvon Chouinard, accompany world-renowned photographer Florian Schulz as he sheds…
3 min Read
Popular searches