Patagonia founder gives away the company

Lesson plan overview

This lesson is based on the recent announcement by the founder of Patagonia that he is giving away the entire company to fight climate change. It will work great in combination with the lessons “Corporate Social Responsibility” and “Greenwashing”. The lesson plan is focused on reading, listening and speaking. Students learn about the company and discuss the role of businesses in addressing the climate crisis.

Speaking: The lesson begins with a discussion about Patagonia. Students share what they already know about the company, discuss a few quotes by founder Yvon Chouinard and draw conclusions about the values of Patagonia. After that they talk about the fashion industry, the reasons behind the huge negative environmental impact and possible ways companies can reduce it.

Reading: Students read a short text outlining some of Patagonia’s environmental efforts and match a few words from the text to their definitions. Video: Students watch a news video “Patagonia founder donates entire company to fight climate change” and answer a few questions about the video. After reading and watching the video, students discuss sustainability of Patagonia and of businesses in general.

Idioms: Students read a few opinions about Patagonia and match the idioms included to their definitions (put your money where your mouth is, make a difference, mean business, follow in someone’s footsteps). As a practice, students choose the correct answer to complete the questions given and then answer the questions. As a bonus vocabulary activity, students work on adjective intensifiers which could be used in the context of climate change and other environmental topics (dead serious, crystal clear, dirt cheap, brand new). Lastly, they complete a few sentences with their own opinions.

As usual, there is a separate set of conversation cards to practise the idioms and adjective intensifiers further. You can also encourage your students to research the suggested topics and to take advantage of the additional resources provided on www.theenglishflows.com.

Another great addition to this lesson is the worksheet “Phrasal verbs: environment”

Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

https://theenglishflows.com/lesson-plans/patagonia-founder-gives-away-the-company/pre-class-activities/

Vocabulary matching

Pronunciation

The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

Through this unabashed anti-consumerist sentiment, the advertisement revealed a recent trend within the outdoor apparel industry.
However, the environmentalist messages of Patagonia can reveal a paradox intrinsic to ecologically conscious corporations.
Throughout the marketing campaign and Patagonia’s culture as a whole, Patagonia seems to be committed to the durable and long-lasting, encouraging its customers to forgo purchases and embrace the old.
Patagonia brands itself as anti-consumerist with ads, yet as a for-profit company its very existence is reliant on consumption.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet
Student’s interactive PDF

Additional resources

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