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Patagonia Asks Customers to 'Vote the Environment'

Outdoor apparel company Patagonia launched a campaign last week asking customers to register to vote, learn about candidates' environmental records and vote for “the world they want to live in.”

Patagonia says the Vote the Environment campaign makes it one of the only for-profit businesses to engage in a public campaign that aims to sway its customers' voting towards the most environmentally-minded candidates.

Patagonia has partnered with the rock band Wilco, the non-profit HeadCount and the League of Conservation Voters to achieve the campaign's objectives. People at Wilco shows, in Patagonia retail stores and online will be encouraged to tweet messages and images that complete the sentence "I vote the environment because I love …" in order to personalize the environmental issues at stake in this election. 

The #becauseilove tweets will be displayed in real-time at Wilco shows, in Patagonia stores across the country and online at thanks to a technology partnership with Austin-based social integration company Mass Relevance.

"People protect what they love," says Patagonia's founder and owner Yvon Chouinard, "It's time to hold our candidates accountable to environmental issues: if you care about clean air and water, how do the candidates on the national, state and local levels measure up on those topics? Get informed before casting your vote."

Vote the Environment, along with voter registration group HeadCount, will accompany Wilco on tour this summer, with a booth at each US-based show. Additionally, Wilco has donated an exclusive version of their song "Whole Love" - the title track from their Grammy-nominated album The Whole Love. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of this song benefit HeadCount.

Customers will also find a special edition tee from Patagonia celebrating Wilco and Patagonia's support of HeadCount; five dollars from the sale of each tee will go to HeadCount.

"Given the current state of American politics, it's easy to see why people become disillusioned and don't participate in the system," notes Jeff Tweedy, Wilco's lead singer, "But my hope, and my reason for this partnership with Patagonia, is to remind people that they do have a voice, and voting is an effective and undeniable way to be heard. And nature, while powerful, needs our voices and votes to protect and preserve it."

In May, Chouinard and Patagonia’s head of marketing, Vincent Stanley, published a book outlining what they believe to be the required elements for doing responsible business.

Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications. 

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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