Rick Ridgeway: Why Patagonia is Moving from Sustainability to Regeneration [Ep. 33]

"When you dig down into any social justice issue, more often than not, the causes have some root in environmental degradation."  - Rick Ridgeway

In this episode of Next Economy Now, Ryan Honeyman, a Partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environmental Initiatives at Patagonia.

Rick Ridgeway is one of the originals at Patagonia. He was rock climbing buddies with Yvon Chouinard before Patagonia was founded in 1973.

In this episode, we discuss Rick’s background as a photographer and filmmaker, his time on Patagonia's board of directors, and why Rick got his first “real job” only 12 years ago. We also dive into Patagonia’s famous mission statement to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

As you’ll hear, Rick is especially interested in moving away from “causing no unnecessary harm” (or sustainability) to “doing good” (which is regenerative). Rick and I discuss how things like soil health, regenerative agriculture, rotational grazing, and clothing that benefits the climate are increasingly on Patagonia’s radar.

In this interview, Ryan and Rick discuss a number of topics, including:

  • Why Patagonia doesn’t mention solving social or community issues in its mission statement

  • What happened when Patagonia discovered forced labor in its Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers last year

  • Why the Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the largest trade association in apparel and footwear in the world

  • Whether he is optimistic or pessimistic about the future

  • Patagonia’s new initiatives in carbon sequestration

  • Why you should know Fred Kirschenmann (from the Aldo Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture), the Carbon Underground, and Kiss the Ground

  • And much more

To listen to this podcast, please click the image at the top of the article. If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.

You can also listen/subscribe to Next Economy Now on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting platform.

To learn more about the crowdfunding campaign mentioned at the start of the episode, visit www.wefunder.com/forceforgood.