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December 30, 2008

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Who Doesn't Shop Green?

I was amused to read the results of a recent Southwick survey that asked anglers and hunters (separately) whether or not they would be likely to buy gear from companies that support conservation of wildlife and fisheries resources.  (In flyfishing, such companies would include Orvis, Patagonia, Simms, Scott, Sage, Redington, Rio, Scientific Anglers, etc.)

A whopping 67% of hunters and 52% of anglers stated that they are “much more likely” to buy products from conservation-supporting companies, and 22% of hunters and 29% of anglers said they were “slightly more likely” to buy products from such companies.

But my question is, who the heck are the 14% of moron anglers who said that companies’ support for conservation had no influence whatsoever on their purchasing decisions? (Aside from the dopes who didn't care enough to offer an opinion...) Probably the same people who keep everything they catch, leave litter on the side of the river, and complain about the cost of fishing licenses.



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Matt Penttila

Well, I'm in the 14% and not a moron, like you morons imply. I am President of the local TU Chapter 725 Miller's River, and the stupidity of people thinking that by buying only from companies that kick back a small percentage of 1% percent of their profits to conservation should force you to buy their product is arssinine.
I buy products based on how well they work, and how long they last. I've bought expensive gear and tackle to have it fail within a day of being out of the box, and cheaper products that I am still using 20 years later. I would rather spend my money on something that will last than for something with a name brand or "elitist" status any day.


I would be interested in how they qualified the participants as hunters or anglers, the number of respondents, and where they found them.

We have people here in my part of Texas that buy chicken liver and some mono and a few hooks. Then they wrap the mono around an old tall boy to assist in casting, and proceed to try to pull every fish out of any body of water they can reach.

I spent several days last week on my Christmas vacation cleaning up after them. 10 bags of trash out of a small section of the creek that runs near my house.

Anglers? Not in my book.


I agree with Matt here. I dont care what they do with the money I give to them, as long as I'm getting quality gear that will work and last. Does that sound moronic to anyone? Then I also give more money to conservation efforts. But I find these to be two totally different subjects

Fat Guy Alex

I buy what I buy because I like it, it works well, it will do what I need, and most likely because it is sitting on a sale rack. If the manufacturer supports conservation, I commend them, but I can't say I have ever made a decision between 2 items based on which does and which does not.

If every outdoor company supported conservation of fisheries and wildlife resources, this would not be an issue and the impact would be that much greater. But its probably just a pipe dream.


It would be interesting to know what fly fishing brands don't support conservation...I would think that the list is very small...




I would guess that most, if not all, the brands I buy as well as who I buy them from support conservation in one way or another. I was always taught that no matter what you buy, or through whom, you were supporting conservation through a self imposed tax started somewhere back in the early 1900s. The tax was on all sporting good equipment and was for the sole purpose of conservation. Anyone know the Act, and if that tax is still in place? Is the money still being used as intended, or is it going to buying up old railroad tracks to make "rail-trails"?

tim romano

Green=Hoax? I'm not sure I follow.

What's the Hoax? What can be wrong with companies reinvesting in conservation projects or making products that are friendlier for wetlands, rivers, etc...


Matt nobody is forcing anyone to buy anything... but with all things being equal (and they often are), don't you think it's worth at least paying a little attention to which companies are putting back into the resources you fish?

I mean, talk about wanting something to "last" ... how about you include the river in that mix? Isn't that kinda what Trout Unlimited is all about, Mr. President?



What do you deem a "Small Percentage"....1% adds up to ALOT of $$$$. I suggets you connect to

1% for the Planet puts it's money where it's mouth is....

I buy most if not all of my fly fishing gear from Patagonia becuase it was / has been pushing for the environment BEFORE it became "Cool"...

I am also curious when the Southwick did the survey who do they deem an "Angler".

Matt Penttila

Blue Rabbit and Deeter, you should re-read my original comment. I am very conservation minded, otherwise I wouldn't have taken on the jobs I have with the local TU chapter, but the part you missed in the first place was referring to those of us sportsmen who are consumers who don't buy into the "a percent of a percent goes to" but will buy quality products, not for the name, but for QUALITY, groupling us in the class of "morons". That in itself has proved that you lack the professionalism to research out who you are actually referring to.
As for the "one percent" if you read this word for word, I wrote "one percent of one percent" that means .01 times .01 which equals .0001, which translates in dollars, $.01 (one cent) for every $100. That's not much at all, $.10 per $1000, $1.00 for every $10,000. Now I'm not a professional economics person, but I do know that if you are making $10,000 in profit over operating expenses, $1.00 of that is nothing to a company, unless you are run by your P&L statement (Profit and Loss) and Taxes on the profit, so being a smart CEO business person, they would find ways to make the $10,000 profit become $1.00 or $.01 profit. Thus this is part of the reason why we are in the state we are in now.

tim romano


Patagonia has given 31 million dollars to conservation since they started doing it. I think your math is a little fuzzy my friend. Also, if you're talking about 1% for the planet it's not one percent of one percent. It's one percent of profits. Trust me I know because I'm a member, and yes it can be a chunk of money.

NC Fishman

Several blogs this month seem to have moved more to the yuppie side of flyfishing, which I say has surprised me since your propensity for carp fishing. Patagonia and Simms ought to give someone some money for conservation considering how overpriced their products are. I prefer value products and american made when possible. That being said if aesthetics, quality, features, and price are all equal I would lean towards the conservation company. But alas many time those who provide money for conservation have to market the fact that they are consevation minded and hence have overpriced products.
And guys seriously this holier than thow anyone who doesn'y buy brand X that supports conservation is a moron thing is kind of an arse this to say.

scott g

If you buy cheap gear, great. If you prefer more expensive gear good for you as well. I think the thought here is if given 2 like products that you would buy the one that supports our the envoronment. A percent is a percent and any money that one of these companies is willing to take out of their pocket and put into pursuits that I love calls for a little consideration in my book.


I'll just say that being green costs alot of money, and I do what I can, but I don't consider my green for green when I buy fishing products.

Matt Penttila

Tim, I wasn't referring to the One percent for the planet program, I was saying that corporations that claim to "give back" often use the .0001 claim while charging you 10,000 times what they actually should be charging. Patagonia is only one of thousands of manufacturers out there, and when you see when they give back millions, everyone should take notice as to how can they afford to do this in this economy? I've been involved in government and private sector for years and haven't seen a company that wasn't using every trick in the books to make as much money as possible without having the liabilities for the money they have taken in. I've looked at Patagonia, Orvis, Simms, and lots of other manufacturers products, too many of them are way overpriced for the quality and value of that product, because it's named after a renound company that gives back. That's what I am referring to.


"over-priced" is relative to your own personal economy, matt. retail pricing is according to costs, desired profit and what the market can bear, these companies are not government institutions, they are private enterprises whose purpose is to provide products and services at a profit.

obviously patagonia, orvis and simms are doing just fine with their current pricing or they'd be out of business, so i think it's subjective for you to comment on those company's pricing of their products. if you can't afford or choose not to buy them, that's certainly your right, but to say they are "over-priced" says more about you than it does about the products. just like anything else, nobody is forcing you to buy anything.

RP Outside

"Also, if you're talking about 1% for the planet it's not one percent of one percent. It's one percent of profits. Trust me I know because I'm a member, and yes it can be a chunk of money."

Tim, it is 1% of gross sales, not profit.

Matt, Just because Patagonia gives back millions to the environment does not mean they can afford it. Read Yvonne Chouinards book, "Let my People Surf" before making assumptions and see what really makes the man/company tick. When 1% was founded, by Yvonne and Craig Matthews, it was looked at by them as a "tax" not as just a goodwill gesture. Just like all the other taxes that any company has to pay, Patagonia and the other 1,000 or so members decided they would sign up and be held accountable for their giving practices. Unlike others that "say" they give back, 1% members are bound by contract to give, based on annual sales, not profits that, yes, may have been cooked.

Back to the topic, it seems that a bunch of folks state they want quality over environmental commitments, and the same names like Patagonia and Simms keep coming up. Are there really 2 other companies out there in the same market (angling) that can stand up to the quality and guarantee that they both offer? The fast answer, Nope! So why not buy from them, you may pay a little more, but, for the most part, you do get what you pay for. And the money that they give back to environmental causes directly affects you in your outdoor pursuits. Win/Win situation.

I went to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some coffee and narrowed my choices to 2 brands, both taste great, but it came down to the fact that one was a 1% member that supports the Snake River Fund (which I guide and make my living from), so I spent the extra .50 cents. Why not do that with all your purchases that fall within your budget? It would make a huge difference to the environment that you and I exploit for either business or pleasure. I am sure that if you had a choice between 2 products in a similar price range, you would not purchase the one that is known to support PETA, would you?

Kirk, maybe "morons" was the wrong word. Except for the people that bitch about the cost of fishing licenses and leave their trash on the stream. Can't think of the proper description to use at this time, but it is definitely not "angler."



Well put. and yes, one percent of Gross sales not just profit. Oops.


Thing is, I think we all at least consider the conservation factor... at least a little. Okay, so you think it inflates prices... you think companies use cause-related marketing to drive a margin. You're right. Not in all cases. But some. You don't want to pay X more for a product, having factored that in... that's perfectly understandable. But you thought about it.

Was "morons" the wrong word? Understand that part of my job here is to drive a dialogue... if that means raising hackles, so be it. I still think the person who flat out fails to consider conservation in any purchasing decision... no factor, whatsoever... not even a thought... well, I don't agree.

And anyone who knows me knows that I'm all about "Stuff That Works." Check this out...


Heck... there's an ad campaign for a smart fly company... "Stuff That Works." But I reckon there probably aren't enough guys like me out there who like kicking back and strumming Guy Clark tunes after a day on the water to make that happen.


I find it hard to believe that some say they cannot "afford" a litle more $$ for quality products. I have a neighbor who drives the "usual" F250 with all the bells and whistles, the ATV to go hunting and all the other "junk" and he whines because the Sims / Patagonia products cost a few bucks more. He prefes to shop @ Winco and not @ the local farmer supporting CO-Op, prefers the few cents cheaper carrots from Brazil, he also has the ever present "American" flag plasted on the back on his truck, I suppose the Truck ( $40,000 ), ATV ( $5,000) and Winco shopping list is the American way...
I say if those who are selling products to fisherman, more specifically FLYFISHERMAN and do NOT support serious and real ( Read: Sceince based ) conservation then they will not get my hard earned $$$.
As for those who call those of us "Elitists" becuase we make real world decisions based on facts and research to make our decisions then so be it...

It's time more "Outdoorsmen" support serious and real conservation and those companies who have the guts to put their $$ where their mouth is...

Patagonia alomst went broke some years ago, even then they did NOT waver from their core principals like conservation, taking care of their employee's, self critisism regarding the products they produce and what effect they have on the world around them, LONG BEFORE IT WAS COOL AND CHIC....

Gooch Fan

In addition to One Percent for the Planet, over the past 3 years Patagonia World Trout t-shirt sales have generated 350K in grant funds for groups working to preserve wild fish and their habitat. Being green is also not just about how much money you give away either. Patagonia uses recycled content in virtually every product, has been using only organic cotton since 1996 and a great deal of the product line is now recyclable. Stack it all up and the brand does more for fish and the environment than any other fly fishing brand. Could someone explain to me why Simms makes the list of green fly fishing companies?

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