Rick Ridgeway, VP of Public Engagement for Patagonia, at Humanity 2.0 – Vatican City (Archive Interview & Transcript)

Contributed by: Nicole Liddy

Rick Ridgeway, VP of Public Engagement for Patagonia, at Humanity 2.0 – Vatican City 

(Archive Interview & Transcript)

– Patagonia breaks down the barrier between personal life and work life

– Patagnoia provides most developed child care center provided by any company in the world

– Patagonia has a 98% return rate after a maternity/paternity leave

Matt Bird (Show Host, Traders Network Show):00:00    

Welcome back to the Traders Network Show on our continued coverage of Humanity 2.0. I’m Matt Bird broadcasting worldwide from the Vatican for Equities.com and our affiliate network partners. My next guest is the Vice President of Public Engagement for Patagonia, Rick Ridgeway. Rick, nice to meet you. Thanks for coming on the show. 

Rick Ridgeway (VP of Public Engagement, Patagonia): 00:17

It’s a great day at the Vatican. 

Matt Bird (Show Host, Traders Network Show): 00:20

It is a great day at the Vatican, and you don’t have to say that very often. So, we’re in a pretty special place and you just came off a panel. And then you’ve got another one coming up in a little bit. And you had some pretty interesting stuff to stay inside. And you know, today we’ve got a lot of thought leaders. We have a lot of influencers, hopefully we’re going to create some social change and do some good that’s going to come out of all of this. Why is humanity 2.0 and its initiatives here important for your organization because you guys have your own voice and your own message.

Rick Ridgeway (VP of Public Engagement, Patagonia):00:50      

Well, one of the focuses is, you know at the forum today is women’s rights, maternity health as part of those rights. And at our company, the intersection between that topic and the way we do business is the policies that we have in our company, supporting our employees of families, the policies that support our families to avoid the tradeoffs that are so frequent in business between a workers personal life and their work life. At our company, we break that down. We break it down by offering our young mothers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. We give fathers whether they work for us or not, 12 weeks of paid paternity leave. If a young mother after having her child has to travel for business, we support a caregiver to go with that employee so that the employee has somebody there to take care of the business or the child while they’re doing their business.

Rick Ridgeway (VP of Public Engagement, Patagonia):01:48      

We get them hotel rooms side by side. And the most important thing, the thing that creates the most value for us is our onsite child development center. So when our mothers come back from having their babies with their babies, they know that they can bring their babies to work, that those babies go into a child development center that is world-class and they can stay there until they’re five years old when they leave to go to public school. And it is the most developed child care center of any company that I’ve ever run into in the world. It is world class.

Matt Bird (Show Host, Traders Network Show):02:24    

I can’t think of, I mean, just the, just the dynamic to five years old. That’s impressive. And you know, in today, today it’s like it, everything’s going up. The cost of living is going up, healthcare is going up. Childcare’s very expensive. I’ve had three, three, three daughters. It’s expensive and it’s difficult.

Rick Ridgeway (VP of Public Engagement, Patagonia):02:42      

Well let me explain. Our employees have to pay for that service, but we subsidize it and so that it’s affordable. And if an employee is at a lower income level, the subsidization goes up for those employees to make it more equitable now companies frequently to us and say, how can you afford to do this? And we look and turn the question right back at them and say, how can you afford not to do it? And then we explained the business value, the return on investment that we get from treating our employees. The return on investment from our retention rate of employees who all come back to work. In most companies 35% of the young women after having babies don’t come back to what they got to do. Our rehire is 98% over the last six years. And we’ve got the bells behind us.

Matt Bird (Show Host, Traders Network Show):03:28    

Right as you said, the number, the bells ring, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. That’s amazing. So, you know, listen, I want to transition a little bit. You were talking earlier offline about the climate control, how it’s, it’s mission critical for Patagonia to really support the, the slowing of climate change. I mean not just from a business model perspective, but also from a humanitarian standpoint. Tell me a little more about that.

Rick Ridgeway (VP of Public Engagement, Patagonia):03:55      

Well, you know, Patagonia is, is a privately held company. As our owners say, that means we do what we want and what we want to do is use our business as a tool, an agent for environmental protection and social justice. That is why we are in business and we consider the biggest challenge, all of us face to be climate change. And we also don’t, we consider climate change not to be the problem, but the symptom of the problem. The real problem is, is too many people on the planet using too many of the planet’s limited resources. So as a company, we have a, a lot of initiatives to try and do something about that, to try to reduce the environmental impact of our products and to try to actually partner with our customers to convince them not to use our stuff if they are not to buy our stuff, if they really don’t need it. So we actually have an active program to convince our customers to buy only what they need to reduce their consumption. Because remember I said one of the real causes of climate change is all of us using too much stuff.

Matt Bird (Show Host, Traders Network Show):04:56   

That is, it’s over manufacturing over everything. Listen, I love the messaging and you know what? We’re going to do our part on getting your message out. Thank you so much. Yeah, no, thank you, Rick. I really appreciate you coming down. I’m going to actually watch your next panel coming up. I may have you come back. I love at some point down the road for you to come back and contribute to the network on some of the sustainable stuff that you’re working on. Sound good? Okay. You’re watching the Traders Network Show. We’ll be right back. Our guest, Vice president of public engagement right here for Patagonia. Rick, thanks a lot for coming on the show again. We’ll be right back after this message. 

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