Reclaiming Patagonia: The Land That Gave Birth to the Brand and the Paradox of Sustainable Capitalism examines the corporation Patagonia, shedding light on its claim as an environmental steward and purported exemplar of current environmentalist business strategies. By looking beyond the company’s marketing strategy and delving into the intricacies of the company’s worldwide network and the ecological consequences of globalized capital, the author finds that Patagonia runs into problems that could contradict its claims of environmentalism and run at odds with the company’s mission statement. Furthermore, the author shows that the corporation Patagonia, now a well-known brand throughout the world, owes its popularity to the mythologized landmass located on the tip of South America, whose identity has been subsumed by the company through the infusion of consumer marketing. The author debunks this altered meaning and aims to reconnect with the original landform from which the corporation took its logo, believing that true ecological sustainability is predicated upon first developing environmental sensibilities at both the physical (global capital) and metaphysical (consumerism) level.
Emil Tsao graduated from Boston College in May 2012 with a major in Sociology and minor in American Studies. He first explored Patagonia while studying abroad in Santiago, Chile during the fall of 2010, and received an AHANA grant the following summer to study environmental economics. He plans to pursue his interest in environmental and social issues in graduate school.