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Policy & Government

Patagonia takes stand against Georgia voting laws, asks others to join

As part of its three-step plan “to stop future restrictive voting laws,” the outdoor brand has pledged $1 million to voting causes and challenged other businesses to step up.

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Patagonia’s new CEO, Ryan Gellert, is picking up where his predecessor left off—by speaking up and speaking out wherever the outdoor brand sees social or environmental injustice.

The latest example of Patagonia’s activism is publicly opposing Georgia’s “restrictive voting-access law that limits early and absentee voting and ballot drop-box locations; piles on rigid voter ID requirements; and gives people in power the ability to challenge election results they don’t like,” as Gellert explained in a blog posted to the company’s website this week.

In the post, titled “Business Leaders: Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” Gellert said the new voting rules, signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp, “will only make it harder for Georgians of all racial, socioeconomic, and political stripes—especially Black voters—to elect their representatives.”

Read more: Ryan Gellert’s first interview after taking the helm at Patagonia

Gellert, who replaced Rose Marcario last fall, said protecting our democracy is an “all-hands-on-deck commitment that’s ongoing.” As part of Patagonia’s commitment to oppose the new voting restrictions in Georgia, the company has pledged $1 million, split equally between the Black Voters Matter Fund and The New Georgia Project.

He then called on fellow CEOs to “join in denouncing these attacks on our democracy and to do more than make a corporate statement. The strength of our democracy depends on every vote being counted everywhere, and we must protect access to the ballot box.”

Gellert asked companies to take the following actions:

  1. Fund the activists working to challenge the recently passed laws in Georgia and support voting registration efforts.
  2. Send a letter to the senators that represent the state(s) where you conduct business, calling on them to pass the For the People Act (H.R. 1) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA).
  3. Commit to reaching out to business partners to facilitate speaking out against further state laws that would restrict voting access.

While most of the high-profile companies opposing Georgia’s new voting law are based in Atlanta—including Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola—Patagonia said its “reason for being is to save our home planet,” and thus has encouraged its community to “vote for the environment” since 2004, signaling that this political challenge is on-brand for Patagonia. The company also operates stores in Atlanta.

“Many of you have acknowledged that as business leaders, we must support all stakeholders and not just answer to shareholders,” Gellert concluded. “Let’s show the world we mean it. Our communities and employees will have a more equitable chance to thrive when they have the ability to participate in the direction of our great country. Let’s take action together for them.”