Patagonia – The Next Venture Capitalist

May 13, 2013 6:15 AM ET

Even for the most sophisticated CSR leader, some issues are just too big to solve alone. Companies are leveraging co-creation, partnerships and stakeholders to attack some of the most pressing social and environmental issues, but the newest approach takes problem-solving out of big business and into the world of bootstrapping, elevator pitches and seed rounds.

The latest and greatest from CSR trailblazer Patagonia shows that recruiting the help of entrepreneurial businesses may be just what needs to happen to create substantial change. Patagonia recently launched "$20 Million & Change," a program that will invest in startup companies focused on positive impact in five key areas: clothing, food, water, energy and waste. According to Rose Marcario, chief executive of Patagonia's newly announced holding company, Patagonia Works, the program grew out of the organization's desire to apply its financial success toward serving causes that are in alignment with Patagonia's values.

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