Rose Marcario, CEO of the outdoor apparel company Patagonia, had sharp words for President Donald Trump and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today at TechfestNW.
Marcario—whose company is currently suing the federal government for reversing the Bears Ears National Monument designation in Utah, and who has gone on record as calling Silicon Valley tech bros "weenies"—says that things in the White House and in the tech world need to change.
She says social justice and environmentalism—which are the driving forces behind the company's new organic food sale endeavor, Patagonia Provision—need to play a bigger role government and business decisions.
As a mega-retailer, Patagonia's pointed political campaigning is uncommon—but Marcario says, it's been good for business.
After the retailer announced it was suing the White House, the federal Natural Resources Committee told customers to boycott the company.
"That's what dictators and despots do, and as a business we knew we needed to stand up," Marcario said of the Trump administration. "[The lawsuit] has been great for business," she added. "We're going to have the best year ever."
Marcario, who was studying to become a Buddhist nun before taking the executive role at Patagonia, credits younger consumers for demanding corporations to be mindful of their environmental impacts.
"Younger people see what's going on, they know we're using resources in a way that will murder the plant," she said. "Conservation is a bipartisan effort."
Environmental degradation isn't the only thing that worries Marcario. She's angry about what she calls a "leadership vacuum" in Silicon Valley.
"What makes me so mad about tech companies right now," she said, "is that these guys like Zuckerberg are worth billions, and they were attacked on their platform and haven't done anything about it.
"There's been a very pointed effort to divide our country with propaganda from a foreign country," Marcario added, "and we're seeing the effect of that all over the nation. If I were Mark [Zuckerberg], I would have shut things down if they felt out of control. That community of rich, smart, most of them are guys, should have come together and said 'this is what we're going to do to fix the problem because our democracy is at stake.'"
Leaders in tech, government and business, Marcario says, need to start taking ownership over the threats to our planet and democracy.
To fellow corporate executives, she had a message: "We have to be thinking about how to save the planet with our businesses. The right brands that do the right thing will win in the end."