Apparel company Patagonia has announced that effective May 1, it will no longer authorize the addition of logos on its products. The Ventura, California, company says the move is to extend the lifespan of its products and reduce their environmental footprint.

In a statement, Patagonia says, “Patagonia respects the power of all company logos. Every organization, business and group we work with is doing its own part to improve our planet’s future, and those efforts endow each logo with a very worthy set of values. We’ve also found that adding a logo to any Patagonia product significantly shortens its lifespan—specifically, by limiting its use to business hours or a person’s tenure at a single company or organization.”

Patagonia’s products are sold direct to corporate markets and in the promotional products industry through supplier Driving Impressions. Joe Urzetta, the company’s general manager, says, “Patagonia is not getting out of the corporate business, they are just adjusting how they service the business based on their current inventory and supply position and Patagonia’s mission.”

Distributors will still be able to purchase the Patagonia brand through Driving Impressions, but orders must remain blank and be shipped directly to the distributor or its client.

Patagonia’s decision may require some creative thinking on distributors’ part if the company’s products are what their clients are requesting, but some suggest looking beyond the brand. Joseph Sommer, CEO of distributor Whitestone Works in Weehawken, New Jersey, says, “I do not believe distributors can successfully resell Patagonia gear to their clients because of the new policy. Sure, there are still creative ways end users can decorate Patagonia products which would respect the new guidelines. My suggestion for that would be custom logoed zipper pulls, which can easily be applied by a decorator and removed by the recipient. But I think Patagonia is taking a firm stance with this new policy, and it is our job to educate our clients of what the brand believes when consumers request the product. And because of that new stance, I think it would be best for the promotional products industry at large to accept their position and move on.”

This isn’t the first time Patagonia has issued revisions to its corporate sales program in line with its mission. In 2019, the company shifted toward more ecologically-minded companies for its corporate sales, aligned with the declaration, “We’re in business to save our home planet,” in its mission statement. Patagonia’s corporate sales catalog notes, “For each order, we require disclosure as to the type of company whose name will appear on the Patagonia product and how the product will be used.”

Sommer adds, “Patagonia for a long time has felt that their ‘equity’ was being co-opted by organizations with missions they don't agree with. In 2018, they made the stance to only allow B-Corporations to co-brand their product. That quickly changed and they instructed brands to only decorate the sleeve or the back of the garment. Their stance is about sustainability, and I think they very adamantly disagree with corporate swag and see it as an unnecessary evil in our modern society. Because of that viewpoint, I think we as an industry need to respect that and respectfully let them continue doing business without us. And that is more than okay with me.”