Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard Gives Company to Climate Non-Profit

The outdoor apparel company is now in the hands of a trust and an environmental non-profit to fight the climate crisis
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Yvon Chouinard, the outdoors industry pioneer who founded apparel brand Patagonia, has given away the company.

Shirking capitalism’s more common practices, such as selling the company or taking it public, 98 percent of Patagonia’s ownership has been placed under the control of the Holdfast Collective, the New York Times reports. The non-profit organization will allocate any profits not reinvested into the company toward environmental concerns. To date, Patagonia has already donated $50 million with another $100 million expected this year.

The other two percent, which make up the company’s voting stock, will be transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust. The trust, comprised of members of the Chouinard family and their advisors, will essentially be the decision-making body going forward.

The Times also notes that the Chouinard family’s generosity in giving away the company will end up costing them around $17.5 million dollars in taxes.

In an open letter on the Patagonia website Thursday, Chouinard, 83, wrote, “Earth is now our only shareholder.” For years, Patagonia has “been in the business of saving our home planet,” encouraging others to do what they can, according to their resources. “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.”

Chouinard told the Times, “Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people. We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”

Patagonia, founded in 1973, has grown exponentially since Chouinard began his career making climbing gear in California. It’s currently valued at $3 billion.


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