Sep 16, 2022
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard just gave away his $3 billion company to fight climate change.
Chouinard published a letter on Patagonia’s website. The company sells outdoor clothing and gear. In his letter, Chouinard shared that ownership of Patagonia will be transferred to a trust and a nonprofit group.
“If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it demands all of us doing all we can with the resources we have. As the business leader I never wanted to be, I am doing my part,” he wrote. “We’re making Earth our only shareholder. I am dead serious about saving this planet.”
All the company’s voting stock has been given to the Patagonia Purpose Trust. All its non-voting stock will go to the Holdfast Collective. The company makes around $100 million a year. The trust will give these profits to the nonprofit. It will spend the money to fight climate change and preserve land. Patagonia already donates 1% of its profits to environmental causes.
The move is unusual. But perhaps it's fitting for the founder. After all, he once got annoyed when he saw his name on a list of billionaires. Before Patagonia, Chouinard was a rock climber in California. He lived what he called a “dirtbag life.” He slept in his car. He even ate five-cent cans of cat food.
Chouinard had thought about selling his company or taking it public. He decided not to. Chouinard wanted to protect his employees.
Photo by Malik Skydsgaard courtesy of Unsplash.
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