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Patagonia: Driving Sustainable Innovation by Embracing Tensions
O'Rourke, Dara , and Robert Strand
Publication date: 2/16/2016, pages 1-32

This case study examines Patagonia’s Durable Water Repellent (DWR) problem--DWR is a highly effective chemical treatment used to waterproof jackets but has by-products that are toxic and persist in the environment. The case presents Patagonia’s history resolving the problem, including research, its temporary solution to use a less harmful but less effective option, and its investment in Beyond Surface Technologies. The case discusses pressure from Greenpeace, governmental involvement, and chemical industry actions. At the higher level, it shows how companies think about innovation/disruption, while grappling with internal tensions between performance, durability, and their commitment to cause no unnecessary environmental harm.

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Berkeley Haas Case Series

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