Melanie Janin, Managing Director, Communications, BSR

“We have to lead by example. We have too much stuff ourselves [at Patagonia]. We’re going to look at every single product we make and ask: Is it multifunctional? We’re going to ask all those questions, and it could very well lead to us shrinking the company.”
—Yvon Chouinard, founder, Patagonia, February 28, 2013

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has carved out a reputation as an iconoclast in business—he with the “powder/surf” clause for his employees, the Etch A Sketch as a stand-in for a computer on his desk, and the “Don’t Buy This Jacket” advertisement on Earth Day.

But he may just redefine business leadership for sustainability if he decides to retreat on business opportunities for the sake of sustainable consumption, as he noted at his address at the GreenBiz Forum San Francisco last week.