Patagonia’s billionaire founder gives away company to fight climate change – National

Founder of famous outdoor clothing brand Patagonia announced on Wednesday that he is giving the company to a trust that will use his profits to fight climate change.

Yvon Chouinard, an early pioneer of rock climbing in Yosemite National Park, has transferred ownership of Patagonia to two new entities, a trust designed to preserve the company’s existing values ​​and another. Non-profit organization working to combat climate change.

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One statement by Chouinard, 83, reads: “Instead of extracting value from nature and turning it into wealth, we are using the wealth that Patagonia created to protect the source. We are making Earth our sole shareholder. “

Currently, Patagonia is valuable at $3 billion and a net profit of $100 million a year, The New York Times reported.

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“If we have any hope of a prosperous planet – much less a thriving business – 50 years from now, we will all have to do what we can with the resources that we cannot afford. we have,” Chouinard wrote in the statement. “This is what we can do.”

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Patagonia is a Certified B Corporation, which means they are a private, for-profit corporation that voluntarily meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance.

Worried about upholding the company’s values, Chouinard, his wife and their two grown children don’t want to sell the company outright to raise money for climate action. They also don’t want the company to go public for fear of “too much pressure to make short-term profits at the expense of vitality and long-term responsibility,” Chouinard wrote in the company statement.

“Truth be told, there are no good options. So we created our own,” he wrote. “Instead of ‘public’, you could say we are ‘on purpose’.”

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One hundred percent of Patagonia’s voting shares have been transferred to the newly formed Patagonia Purpose Trust, which is designed to uphold the company’s social and environmental standards.

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All non-voting shares of Patagonia have been given to Holdfast Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and protecting nature. Profits made after reinvesting in the company will be distributed in its entirety as dividends to help fight the climate crisis, Chouinard announced.

Patagonia’s leadership team has not changed.

Chouinard is expected to “guide the Patagonia Purpose Trust, electing and overseeing its leadership” while also sitting on Patagonia’s board of directors.

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Chouinard has always been a staunch environmentalist. He founded Patagonia in 1973 and became the first to adopt everything from organic cotton to “clean climbing” equipment designed to preserve rock faces and on-site childcare for employees, according to the company. The New York Times.

Each year since its founding, Patagonia has spent one percent of its revenue on most grassroots environmental programs.

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Patagonia’s success made Chouinard a reluctant billionaire.

Chouinard told The New York Times: “I was listed as a billionaire by Forbes magazine, which really pissed me off. “I don’t have a billion dollars in the bank. I don’t drive Lexuses. “

Still, Chouinard told The New York Times that the decision to quit the company was an “ideal solution.”

“Despite its vastness, the Earth’s resources are not limitless, and we have clearly exceeded its limits. But it’s also very resilient. We can save our planet if we commit to it,” he wrote in the Patagonia statement.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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