Patagonia Founder Appoints Earth as Sole Shareholder

Yvon Chouinard has donated 100% of his Patagonia brand to charitable foundations to fight climate change

Source & Copyright by Patagonia

Author: Julia

  • Founder Yvon Chouinard donates Patagonia to charitable foundations
  • Chouinard dedicates 100% of the shares of the billion-dollar company to environmental protection
  • The decision is seen as food for thought for a new understanding of capitalism

Patagonia has appointed Earth as its sole shareholder. Founder and owner Yvon Chouinard has donated his billion-dollar company to two charitable foundations to help tackle the... climate change support with his wealth. "If we are to hope for a livable planet - let alone a prosperous company - we must do what we can with the resources at our disposal," Chouinard said.

Corporate purpose: Save the Planet

Actually, Chouinard never wanted to be a businessman. However, the increasing magnitude of global warming and environmental degradation made him want to make a positive contribution. His Patagonia brand should contrast with existing business models in the clothing industry represent and break with rigid structures. The idea: do the right thing and earn money at the same time. Because only the balance between these two factors would have enough clout to inspire both consumers and other companies. And hopefully changing the system from the ground up.

This vision has been manifested in responsible management for years. Patagonia used eco-friendly and recycled materials, donates 1% of its sales each year, is B-Corp certified and even adopted the legal form of a Benefit Corporation. In addition, the brand has advanced to become one of the most relevant love brands on the planet due to its uncompromising implementation of sustainable and ethical corporate values. However, this commitment is not enough to overcome the environmental crisis. And that's exactly why Chouinard has been looking for a way to put more money into fighting climate change without compromising his values.

Patagonia rethinks capitalism

The problem: To date, there has not been a solution that is compatible with Patagonia's corporate values. Selling the brand and donating all the money seemed unsafe. After all, there is no guarantee that new owners will die Values maintained and employ the team of employees worldwide under the same, fair conditions. But Chouinard also considered the other option, bringing Patagonia public, to be a disaster. Even well-intentioned public companies would eventually collapse under the pressure to seek short-term gains at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.

In short, there wasn't a good option, so Patagonia created its own. This is about protecting the source of all wealth - nature - rather than extracting value from it to enrich investors. The brand's financial resources are designed to protect and strengthen the natural resources of our planet.

Patagonia Empowers Purpose: How It Works

On the one hand, 100% of the company's voting stock goes to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, established to protect the company's assets. On the other hand, 100% of the non-voting stock goes to the Holdfast Collective. A non-profit organization that fights climate change and protects nature. Funding for this comes from Patagonia: "Each year, all profit - the money we make beyond reinvesting in the company - is distributed as a dividend to the Holdfast Collective to help fight the environmental crisis," said Chouinard.

The extraordinary step of transferring a brand, including all of its assets, to charitable foundations gives us a new perspective on the concept of resources. On the dependencies of financial and natural resources. And the urgency of reversing causality: Financial resources to Protection and health of natural resources. Not (anymore) the other way around. Yvon Chouinard has thus once again positioned itself as a pioneer in sustainable development. With the founding of Patagonia in the past, he has already inspired an entire industry to rethink. So we can only hope that he can do it again.


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