‘Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder’: Patagonia’s Founder Is Donating His $3 Billion Company to Stop Climate Change - The Scene

“Truth be told, there were no good options available,” Yvon Chouinard noted in a public letter. “So, we created our own.”

The founder of outdoor clothing company Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, is giving away his company to fight climate change. In a statement posted on the California-based brand’s website, although Patagonia has touched many bases to prevent climate change, there’s a long way to go. In effect, the entire $3 billion worth company is being donated.  

“We started with our products, using materials that caused less harm to the environment. We gave away 1% of sales each year. We became a certified B Corp and a California benefit corporation, writing our values into our corporate charter so they would be preserved. More recently, in 2018, we changed the company’s purpose to We’re in business to save our home planet,” Chouinard writes. 

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”While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact.”  

More than good intentions

When weighing choices, Chouinard shared that selling Patagonia was one option, “ But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.” 

Another route would be to take the company public. However, Chouinard notes that even organizations with “good intentions” can break under pressure to achieve short-term gain. 

Instead, the almost 50-year-old company will donate all its profits to charitable organizations fighting climate change. This includes Holdfast Collective through the Patagonia Purpose Trust.

“If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a thriving business—50 years from now, it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have,” continued the letter. This is another way we’ve found to do our part.”

Banner image from Patagonia’s website.

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