Not one to mince words about the environment, Ventura, CA-based outdoor apparel brand Patagonia has formally launched a new campaign aimed squarely at getting consumers to consider the environment and take part in the upcoming US presidential election.

Vote The Environment asks customers to register to vote, educate themselves on the environmental records of candidates and view the environment as a priority in the voting booth. “Vote The Environment proves that businesses can act as environmental advocates in the U.S. election process,” says Casey Sheahan, president and CEO of Patagonia. “We’re using our storytelling and marketing expertise to get this message out during a critical time in our country’s history. We know that some customers may be put off by the strong environmental message. Not all our customers are environmentalists. But we are. And we believe deeply that the environment is the foundation we all stand on. Every other major social concern – from energy to foreign policy – hinges on the health of the planet.”

Patagonia will promote the campaign through all three of its selling channels – retail stores, wholesale accounts and the Internet. The campaign will also go on tour with singer Jack Johnson this summer and will be a presence at youth musical festivals, including Austin City Limits. It’s also partnered with over 20 national magazines to secure free or co-op ad space to communicate the campaign message. The company will also sell Vote the Environment tees, contributing $5.00 from the sale of each tee to the League of Conservation Voters.

“As a company, we believe that oil dependency, human health, corporate greed, food safety, energy policy and foreign policy are environmental issues – and we’re asking our customers to Vote the Environment this November 4th,” says Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia. “We’re not endorsing any specific candidates on the executive, federal or local level. Patagonia’s just saying that our customers can and should dissect the candidate’s environmental voting records and vote accordingly.”

With sales last year in excess of $280M, Patagonia has given over $30M to grassroots environmental activists since 1985 and was the first company to switch to 100% organic cotton in 1996. Patagonia is also the first US company to publicly track the social and environmental footprint of its individual products through its "Footprint Chronicles" initiative. Sixty-five per cent of the company’s product line will be recyclable by fall 2009.