Patagonia Founder Donates Entire Company to Fight Climate Change

Yvon Chouinard has donated his entire company, Patagonia, to fight climate change. (Patagonia.com)

Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of outdoor clothing and equipment Patagonia society, has always been a climate activist. Most Patagonia products are made from renewable and recycled raw materials. In addition, since 1985, the company has donated one percent of its annual sales to protect and restore the environment.

On September 14, 2022, the 84-year-old man entrepreneur took his quest to protect the planet to a new level. He transferred the ownership of Patagonia, now valued at $3 billion, to a trust and non-profit organization dedicated to fight the climate crisis.

“It’s been half a century since we began our experience in a responsible company,” Chouinard said. “If we have any hope of a prosperous planet in 50 years, it requires that we all do everything we can with the resources we have. As a business leader, I never wanted to be, I’m doing my part.”

Over 70% of Patagonia’s clothing is made from recycled materials. (Patagonia.com)

The company’s voting shares (two percent of total shares) will now be held by the Patagonia Purpose Trust, which was created specifically to protect the company’s values. The non-voting shares (98%) are transferred to the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to combat climate change and preserve undeveloped earth all over the world. Patagonia will donate all of its profits – approximately $100 million per year – to the association.

Chouinard says he invented the radical idea after realizing that his company was not doing enough to deal with the environmental crisis. He wanted to find a way to donate more money without losing company values. The easiest way would have been to sell the business and give the product. However, the 84-year-old feared the new owner would maintain Patagonia sustainable Culture.

Make the company a listed company entity was also an option. But Chouinard thinks it would have been a disaster. He says, “Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gains at the expense of long-term gains vitality and responsibility.”

Let’s hope that Chouinard bold and generous the decision will be encourage other billionaires to also step up the fight against climate change.

Resources: Patagonia.com, NPR.com, News.Yahoo.com