Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, is selling his $3 billion company to a trust that will use its profits to fight the climate crisis.
Chouinard has not taken the route of selling the company to private or public entities, but has instead chosen to transfer his family’s ownership of the company to a trust and a non-profit organisation.
Patagonia’s website declares, “we’re in business to save our home planet”, with the company founded on the basis of creating ethical products by using materials that cause less harm to the environment. The brand is well-known across the world and has long dedicated one percent of its sales to the preservation and restoration of the environment.
In a letter posted on the Patagonia website, Chouinard says that, while the organisation has been doing its best to address the environmental crisis, it is not enough. “We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact.”
A new way to save the environment
Now Chouinard has created his own solution. In his letter he explains that 100 percent of the company’s voting stock is being transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values. At the same time 100 percent of the non-voting stock is being given to the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. The funding will come from Patagonia. “Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis,” says Chouinard. “We can save our planet if we commit to it.”
Chouinard founded Patagonia in 1973, with the rock climber beginning by making climbing gear for his friends, before getting into producing apparel. The enterprise has since grown to become a multinational company operating across 16 countries.