Friday, September 30, 2022

Climate Change: Patagonia founder gives away company

“One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money.”

• September 15, 2022

Yvon Chouinard, the founder of apparel company Patagonia, his spouse and two adult children, are giving away the company, donating all profits to projects and organizations that will protect land and biodiversity and combat the climate crisis.

On Wednesday, Mr Chouinard made the announcement in a letter published on the Patagonia website. 

“While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact,” Mr Chouinard said. “One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.” 

According to him, another path was to take the company public. 

“What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility,” Mr Chouinard stressed.

The company’s stock will now be owned by a climate-focused trust, and a group of nonprofit organisations named the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective, respectively.

The trust will hold all of the company’s voting stock, and its management will vote to guarantee the company’s actions are aligned with its environmental and social impact commitments.

Patagonia has already donated $50 million to the Holdfast Collective.

Mr Chouinard’s two children, Claire and Fletcher, will continue to work for the company and will be responsible for supervising the decisions made by the Collective.

Patagonia expects to donate about $100 million annually from selling new and used outdoor clothing, equipment for outdoor activities like camping, fishing and climbing, and food and drinks made from sustainable sources.

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