Business & Lobbying

Patagonia founder gives away company, with all profits going to fighting climate change

Sundry Photography/ iStock
Patagonia sign above the entrance to the store located near the Gondola on March 23, 2018 South Lake Tahoe, California.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is giving away the multibillion-dollar outdoor apparel company, the climber-turned-businessman announced on Wednesday.

Chouinard and his family are transferring ownership of Patagonia to a trust and nonprofit in an effort to maintain the company’s environmentalist values and increase its contributions toward fighting climate change. 

“Earth is now our only shareholder,” Chouinard said in a statement.

As part of the shift, Chouinard committed Patagonia to giving away all its excess profits to efforts to fight the environmental crisis.

The company’s excess profits will go to the Holdfast Collective, an environmental nonprofit organization that is also receiving the entirety of Patagonia’s nonvoting shares — about 98 percent of the company.

The remaining 2 percent of the company — the voting shares — will go to the Patagonia Purpose Trust. The trust, which was created to protect and maintain Patagonia’s values, will have final say on key decisions. 

Chouinard noted that they chose not to sell Patagonia or take the company public for fear that its values would be compromised.

“Instead of ‘going public,’ you could say we’re ‘going purpose,’” Chouinard said. “Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we’ll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth.”

Despite giving away ownership, Chouinard said he and his family will continue to guide the Patagonia Purpose Trust and Holdfast Collective and sit on the board of directors.

Tags Climate change Climate change climate crisis patagonia Patagonia Yvon Chouinard
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