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Sunday, September 24, 2017
HomeAlaska NewsB corporations become part of “The Resistance”

B corporations become part of “The Resistance”

Patagonia, a clothing manufacturer whose ubiquitous logo is on the apparel of choice for many Alaska hipsters, spent more than $1 million in 2016 to get certain voters to the polls to vote against Donald Trump.

The company even shut its doors on Election Day so its workers could vote.

After Trump was elected, Patagonia donated $10 million — all of its proceeds — from its Thanksgiving weekend “Black Friday” on-line and retail sales to environmental causes. A grief offering, if you will.

Now, the CEO of Patagonia is taking on the president directly. Rose Marcario says she will sue the Trump Administration over his rollback of the Obama Administration’s national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.

Patagonia has become a pussy-hatted, Indivisible-addled member of “The Resistance.” Marcario is appalled that the country elected Trump and she’s using her company as the tip of the Democrats’ spear to stop him.

Last year, Patagonia donated $200,000 to NextGen Climate, a political action committee founded by Tom Steyer, a San Francisco billionaire who supports Democrat Party candidates. Steyer is the Koch Brothers of the left, giving money to causes and candidates who support his worldview, and he is testing the waters for a run for governor of California in 2018.

NextGen Climate’s front page features “resistance” resources. This is what Patagonia is supporting with its profits.

Patagonia is a B Corporation, owned by its founder, Yvon Chouinard. B Corporations are a relatively new designation that allows corporations to not only serve the interests of shareholders, but use as much of their profits as they want to support causes.

B stands for “benefit.” The officers are tasked in their legal charter with spending profits on causes the company supports in addition to distributing profits to shareholders.

“We have to fight like hell to keep every inch of public land,” Marcario said in an interview with Huffington Post. Her cause is part political and part marketing, as it strengthens the Patagonia brand among its core buyers.

What is Marcario so upset about?

In the waning days of President Obama’s eight years, he locked up 1.35 million acres — an area larger than the state of Rhode Island — in southeastern Utah to create Bears Ears National Monument. It was a massive federal land grab, but it wasn’t the only one. In all, Obama had removed 554.5 million acres from private use.

In the West, the federal government already owns 47 percent of the land. But Obama wanted more.

“Less than 24 hours after joining with our industry to celebrate the economic power of outdoor recreation, in a hypocritical move, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps that could result in the removal of protections for treasured public lands,” Marcario wrote on the company’s web site.  “We take this as a sign that Trump and his team prefer to cater to fossil fuel interests and state land grabs for unsustainable development, rather than preserve a vital part of our nation’s heritage for future generations by protecting federal lands owned by every citizen. A president does not have the authority to rescind a National Monument … We’re watching the Trump administration’s actions very closely and preparing to take every step necessary, including legal action, to defend our most treasured public landscapes from coast to coast.”

In Marcario’s world view, Presidents can only unilaterally create National Monuments, and cannot not rescind them.

Marcario also said Patagonia will use its profits to back pro-environment candidates. Or, as we call them, The Resistance.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A ‘BENEFIT’?

Thirty-three states have statutes that allow B Corporations.

Alaska Rep. Sam Kito introduced legislation to have Alaska join them.

House Bill 124  is cosponsored by Reps. Jason Grenn, Les Gara, Scott Kawasaki, Ivy Spohnholz, Andy Josephson, Justin Parish, and Geran Tarr. They are all Democrats (Grenn is a shape shifter nonaligned) who want more Patagonia-type companies set up that will help them fight oil companies.

HB124, according to the sponsor statement, “expands the options for Alaskan entrepreneurs and investors by placing a new type of corporate entity, the benefit corporation, in Alaskan statute. A benefit corporation is a for-profit corporation which incorporates public benefits and community improvement into its business practices, no matter the principal service or product provided.”

It sounds benign, but in practice, B Corporations are a certain thing. They are all working on the left side of the political fulcrum — more social programs, bigger government, higher taxes. They are all one flavor.

So the question is, what makes Ben & Jerry’s or Patagonia’s social benefit claims more important than, say, the social benefit of the work being done by the very companies that drive Alaska’s economy, provide jobs for Alaskans, and pay for the state services we use?

The answer is entirely subjective.

In a speech given in 2015, one of the founders of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, said “Human emissions of carbon dioxide have saved life on Earth from inevitable starvation and extinction due to lack of CO2. To use the analogy of the Atomic Clock, if the Earth were 24 hours old we were at 38 seconds to midnight when we reversed the trend towards the End Times. If that isn’t good news I don’t know what is. You don’t get to stave off Armageddon every day.”

If Moore is to be believed, then oil companies have saved humanity. And other life forms, too. Why are they not fussing to become B Corporations?

Patagonia, with its B Corporation status, is using its profits to fight against oil producers and miners that produce resources that indeed save lives and improve lives, in spite of the obvious downsides of a nonrenewable resource like petroleum.

B Corporations are based on a false premise that corporations are not beneficial. In fact, existing law does not prevent companies from considering the impacts of their decisions on their communities. Corporate law does not force boards of directors to only consider profits, and not to consider other qualities, such as sustainability, recycling, human trafficking, child labor, or not doing business with certain countries.

Traditional C and S corporations already donate billions of dollars of their profits every year to such social and environmental issues.

The new category of corporation simply gives B Corporations a marketing advantage, as they distinguish themselves as “good corporations,” while others are then, by implication, “bad corporations.”

 

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comment

  • Oh dang. I love Patagonia stuff. Guess I will have to do without until they grow a brain!!!!! Why can they not just leave misguided politics aside and stick to their warm and fuzzy fairly harmless tree hugging?!!!! I could deal with that, I have been known to hug a tree……lol! Love trees, make great firewood and places for kid forts!