The [Patagonia] case competition …inevitably will be one of the greatest highlights from my business school career. Working alongside an interdisciplinary team and presenting to Patagonia’s leadership team not only solidified the importance of diverse minds coming together, but reaffirmed the notion that doing good is good business.” – Aysha Malik (University of Michigan), 2016 Winner

About the Patagonia Case Competition

This one-of-a-kind case competition redefines the relationship between business and a healthy planet.

Graduate students from across the US tackle the interconnected business and sustainability aspects of a current, real-life issue facing the outdoor gear retailer Patagonia. In the first round of competition, interdisciplinary teams submit solutions to a case developed by the Berkeley-Haas Case Series and Patagonia. Senior leaders from Patagonia review all submissions and select finalists to present their solutions to Patagonia executives in person at Berkeley Haas.

For students at Berkeley Haas and beyond, this case competition is an unparalleled opportunity to work on a pressing corporate sustainability issue with one of the most forward thinking companies in the world. Not to mention a unique source of fresh perspectives and innovative ideas for Patagonia leadership. As the competition enters its 5th year, we’ve compiled an extended overview of the competition’s drive to solve Patagonia’s most pressing sustainability challenges here.

2020 Patagonia Case Competition

Case Topic

Waste not, want not: Eliminating Patagonia’s pre and post consumer textile waste

As a leader in the sustainable apparel industry, Patagonia aims to reduce its textile waste by shifting consumer behavior and innovating solutions. This includes not only the cut-and-sew scraps and the liability fabrics, but also the garments end-of-life. In order to achieve this goal, innovation must occur throughout the entire lifecycle of Patagonia’s products: from design and manufacturing, to the consumer behavior side – buying high-quality and durable products that they truly need, as well as creating alternatives to landfill upon end-of-life. With the mission of: “We are in business to save our home planet,” Patagonia must achieve this in such a way that other companies can replicate.

Key Dates

  • Sep. 2019: Topic for the case released
  • Nov. 2019: Rules posted
  • Jan. 2020: Team sign up deadline
  • Jan. 2020: Case Released
  • Feb. 2020: Case proposals due
  • March 2020: Finalists announced
  • April 2020: Finalist presentations

Register

Team registration is closed. Please check back in fall of 2019 to register for the 2020 Patagonia Case Competition.

Prize

The top three teams receive cash prizes. All finalists get to engage with Patagonia executives at the Haas School of Business during the final competition round. The top teams also get to visit Patagonia’s Ventura, California headquarters to experience Patagonia’s culture and discuss the implementation of their solution. Surfing and exploring with the Patagonia team included!

Rules

Official rules for the 2019 Patagonia Case Competition can be found HERE. Please review these rules carefully when forming a team and preparing submission materials.

Past Case Competition Topics

2019 Case Topic

Patagonia desires research-driven and scalable solutions that lessen the environmental impact of single-use packaging. This case asks  how Patagonia can distribute all its food and apparel products in packaging that is reusable, biodegradable, renewable, or easily recyclable by 2025.

2018 Case Topic

How Patagonia can best achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 not only for itself, but to provide a model for industry to follow suit.

2017 Case Topic

In light of the recent launch of Patagonia Provisions, the 2017 case study focused on Patagonia’s desire to accelerate regenerative agricultural practices for food.

2016 Case Topic

The 2016 case study concerned DWR “Durable Water Repellent”, a coating applied to clothing to make it more water repellent. DWR loses effectiveness over time as it wears off, necessitating repeated applications or replacement of gear. And DWR, a C8 long-chain fluorocarbon, turns out to be a persistent environmental pollutant that accumulates in rivers and lakes.

Past Winners

2019 Winners

  • First Place, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Audrey Bazerghi, MBA, SM Civil Engineering
    • Cristina Bleicher, MBA
    • Ty Christoff-Tempesta, PhD, Materials Science
    • Cherry Gao, PhD, Biological Engineering
    • Ellena Kim, MBA
    • Jordan Landis, MBA, SM Mechanical Engineering
  • Second Place, University of California, Berkeley
    • Aaron Hall, PhD, Material Science and Engineering
    • Lily Fryer, MDP
    • Tiffany Tran, MBA
    • Thomas DeVore, Master of Architecture
  • Third Place, University of Michigan
    • Katherine Cunningham, MBA/MS
    • Brian Tobelmann, PhD, Materials Science
    • Chelsea Blau, MBA/MS
    • Erin Evke, PhD, Materials Science
    • Kartik Raju, MBA
    • Takunda Chazovachii, PhD, Chemistry

2018 Winners

  • First Place, University of Virginia
    • Bryan Shadron, MBA
    • Stephanie Roe, PhD, Environmental Sciences
    • Ben Strickland, MBA
    • Andrew Neils, MS, Materials Science and Engineering
    • John Tomko, PhD, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Second Place, Bard College
    • Cory Skuldt, MBA
    • Alistair Hall, MBA
    • Sam Brundrett, MBA
    • Lindsey Strange, MBA
    • Savannah Parsons, MBA
  • Third Place, Yale University
    • Stephanie Hsiung, MS, Environmental Management
    • Greg Chung, MBA
    • Jessica Harpole, MBA
    • Perry Leung, MS, Environmental Science
    • James Souder, MS, Environmental Management
    • Emily Auerbach, MBA

2017 Winners

  • First Place, Yale University
    • Serena Pozza, Master in Environmental Management
    • Chris Martin, MBA, MS Forestry
    • Nathan Hall, MBA, MS Environmental Management
    • Nikola Alexandre, MS Forestry
    • Emily Oldfield, PhD, Soil Sciences
    • Nitesh Kumar, MBA
  • Second Place, University of Pennsylvania
    • Michie Adachi, MBA
    • Vinayak Uppal, MBA
    • Smitha Sharma, MBA
    • Jessica Blum, MBA
    • Chelsea Meyers, MS, Integrated Product Design
  • Third Place, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Lila Fridley, MBA, MS, Civil Engineering
    • Lee Evangelakos, MBA, MS, Civil Engineering
    • Sean Singer, MBA
    • Kelly Rincon, MBA
    • Jeremy Hare, MBA

2016 Winners

  • First Place, University of Michigan
    • Aysha Malik, MBA, Strategy
    • Kevin Golovin, PhD, Materials Science & Engineering
    • David Ruebenson, MBA, Corporate Finance & Supply Chain
    • Ally Stewart, MBA, Marketing
    • Sarah Snyder, PhD, Materials Science & Engineering
    • Denise Miller, MS & MBA, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
  • Second Place, Yale University
    • Nitesh Kumar, MBA
    • Jon Powell, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
    • Serena Pozza, Master in Environmental Management
    • Ranran Wang, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
    • Laurene Petitjean, PhD
  • Third Place, University of California, Berkeley
    • Cecilia Toscana Rodriguez, MBA
    • Claire Markham, MBA
    • Ian Bolliger, MS/PhD, Energy and Resources Group
    • Valeri Vasquez, Energy and Resources Group

Sign up to Learn More