Billionaire Patagonia Owner Donates Company To Combat Climate Change
The founder of outdoor retailer Patagonia announced that he has given away his company in an effort to fight climate change.
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, an American retailer company of outdoor clothing, is donating the entire business he started some 50 years ago in an effort to fight climate change.
All corporate revenues will be donated to initiatives and groups working to combat the climate crisis, protect biodiversity, and protect wild lands. Along with Chouinard, his wife and two adult children are also donating their stake in the apparel company to the noble cause.
According to the New York Times, the company is valued at roughly $3 billion.
With the title "Earth is now our only shareholder," Chouinard penned a letter explaining his decision. The letter was posted on the Patagonia website on Wednesday.
Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder, former owner, and current board member said:
“It’s been a half-century since we began our experiment in responsible business. 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.
"Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we are using the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source. We’re making Earth our only shareholder. I am dead serious about saving this planet.”
Explaining the severity of climate change, he wrote, "If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is what we can do."
He added: "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. 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. 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,”.
"Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own," he added.
The privately held company announced in a statement that a trust focused on addressing climate change and a collection of nonprofit organisations, known as the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective, will now own its stock.
The company added, "Funding for the Collective will come from Patagonia: Each year, excess profits—money we make after reinvesting in the business (including money we want to save for unforeseen events, like a pandemic)—will be distributed as a dividend to the Collective to be used for its work."
The business now offers new and pre-owned outdoor clothing, equipment for outdoor pursuits like camping, fishing, and climbing, as well as food and drinks derived from sustainable sources.
Patagonia, Inc. is an American retailer of outdoor clothing. It was founded by Chouinard in 1973 and is based in Ventura, California. Patagonia has hundreds of stores in 10+ countries across five continents, as well as factories in 16 countries.