Patagonia Wins Rock/Creek Environmental Stewardship Award

In honor of Earth Day, Chattanooga-based retailer Rock/Creek Honors Patagonia with Second Annual Environmental Stewardship Award.

Rock/Creek announces Patagonia, of Ventura California, the 2008 recipient of the 2nd Annual Rock/Creek Environmental Stewardship Award.

Patagonia all started with one man, Yvon Chouinard. In order to reduce impact on the big walls that he and his friends were climbing, Yvon started to forge pitons in his parent's garage. During his years in Yosemite, Chouinard pioneered a new method of climbing. Word soon got out that “clean” climbing was the way of the future, and the company that would later become Patagonia soon took off. The company traces its roots to low impact equipment and clothing and they continue to come up with revolutionary methods that not only have influenced the clothing industry, but also have inspired corporations and businesses to do their part to reduce their impact on the environment.

Patagonia's enthusiasm for environmental concerns and its pledge to protect undomesticated land and water are among the many reasons Patagonia is this year's recipient. Patagonia, along with Chaco, has sponsored many of Rock/Creek's environmental initiatives including the Lula Lake Land Trust. The money that has gone to the trust helps in their mission to create a network of conservation properties that will ensure protection and enhancement of local water quality along the Rock Creek watershed on Lookout Mountain.

Adelaide D. Bratcher, Head of Development at Lula Lake expresses, "We've enjoyed working with Patagonia through Rock/Creek because of the dedication shown by these two businesses to our organization. Without their help, the processes of trail building and making the property more accessible to the public would be at a standstill. We, at Lula Lake, cannot thank Patagonia and Rock/Creek enough."

Patagonia also created a nonprofit organization called 1% for the Planet. Businesses who join the organization pledge 1% of their sales (not profit, but actual sales- regardless of whether they report a profit or not) to environmental organizations that are approved by 1% for the Planet. This means that every piece of clothing sold, part of the purchase goes directly back to environmental issues.

One of their newest initiatives is called the Common Threads Recycling Program. This program allows customers to recycle their old worn out polyester fleece or Capilene performance base layers back to Patagonia, who in turn sends them to a factory in Teijin China. There they have worked closely with the fabric makers and are able to convert the unusable garments into virgin fibers and eventually new clothing. The program continues to expand. Not only can you donate retired Capilene but also Polartec fleece, (from any company), Patagonia organic cotton tee shirts, and nylon 6 products with the Common Threads tag. Recycling these fibers saves 76% of the energy and 71% of the CO2 emissions that would have been produced from virgin materials.

Patagonia's ongoing dedication to environmental issues and to improving access to outdoor recreation areas compelled Rock/Creek to give the second annual Environmental Stewardship Award to Patagonia. “Environmental issues have always been at the heart of Rock/Creek,” explained Rock/Creek co-owner, Marvin Webb. “Patagonia has really stepped up to the plate over the years, helping us fund large projects so we have an even stronger impact within our region. They have not only supported us in our own programs, but they have also actively come to us with new ideas for local and global initiatives.”

Matt Sims, Sales Representative for Patagonia, stated, “The partnership between Rock/Creek and Patagonia is the perfect example of two companies sharing the same vision of environmental awareness and coming together to not only to improve the community, but also to educate the public on environmental stewardship.” " We have donated about $15,000 to environmental efforts Rock/Creek has taken on since 2005." Mr. Sims continues, “We are thrilled to accept this award, and are excited to continue to support Rock/Creek with regional environmental labors they diligently take on.”

Rock/Creek congratulates Patagonia for setting high standards of environmental stewardship within the outdoor industry. “As the need to preserve the environment becomes clearer, we hope to see more companies raising the bar and proactively educating their consumers,” said Webb. “Part of our mission at Rock/Creek is to teach our customers about Leave No Trace practices in the backcountry. Really, Leave No Trace should apply to the way we all live and work day to day, and to the way companies in our industry do business.”

For more information on sustainable materials, low-impact gear, and Rock/Creek's environmental initiatives, visit

About Rock/Creek:

Rock/Creek, member of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, is an independent specialty outdoor retailer with over two decades of experience in the Southeast. Along with its online shops, and, Rock/Creek provides quality outdoor clothing and gear for a host of activities including kayaking, rock climbing, camping, hiking, trail running, and adventure racing. Rock/Creek is committed to making a positive impact on the environment. For this reason, it uses outdoor retail as a platform to encourage outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship and to improve public access to the backcountry. Rock/Creek supports worthy nonprofits such as the Southeastern Climbers' Coalition and the Wilderness Trail Running Association.

About Patagonia:

”Our definition of quality includes a mandate for building products and working with processes that cause the least harm to the environment. We evaluate raw materials, invest in innovative technologies, rigorously police our waste and use a portion of our sales to support groups working to make a real difference. We acknowledge that the wild world we love best is disappearing. That is why those of us who work here share a strong commitment to protecting undomesticated lands and waters. We believe in using business to inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.” –Patagonia Mission Statement