UVA Team Wins Patagonia Competition With Plan for Carbon Neutrality

By Caroline Newman

A team from the University of Virginia, including two Darden alumni, recently beat out more than 100 other teams to take the first place at a the recent Patagonia Case Competition.

The challenge was a significant one, with the outdoor apparel company challenging teams to help it chart a path to become carbon neutral by 2025.

The five-person UVA team bested 108 other groups, earning a cash prize and a trip to Patagonia headquarters to workshop their ideas with Patagonia employees.

“You changed the nature of the question, made us think about it differently and reframed the problem in a new and different way,” one of the judges, Patagonia Vice President of Share Services Dean Carter, told the UVA team as he announced their win.

“We were truly inspired and blown away,” he continued, noting that their ideas were ambitious, but also “shelf-ready,” with the practical details and logistics clearly outlined.

The interdisciplinary UVA team included [environmental science Ph.D. student Stephanie] Roe, materials science and engineering Ph.D. students Andrew Neils and John Tomko, and 2018 Darden School of Business graduates Bryan Shadron and Ben Strickland.

In addition to explaining the science behind each of their proposals, the team relied on its two Darden students to develop a business plan implementing their suggestions.

“They wanted to know how we would scale our ideas, not just for Patagonia, but for other companies looking to do something like this,” said Shadron, who worked as an engineer before coming to Darden. He helped pinpoint how proposed changes would affect Patagonia’s supply chain and identified potential investments or partners that could help the company reach these goals.

Read the full story on UVA Today.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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