Patagonia Owner Is Giving the Company Away, With All Profits Fighting Climate Change
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to fighting climate change. Specifically, he's putting his money directly into fighting climate change, having announced yesterday that he is putting control of the apparel company into a trust. All future profits will be donated to help fight climate change.
"It's been a half-century since we began our experiment in responsible business," Chouinard said, according to NPR. "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."
Hey, friends, we just gave our company to planet Earth. OK, it’s more nuanced than that, but we’re closed today to celebrate this new plan to save our one and only home. We’ll be back online tomorrow.https://t.co/fvRFDgOzVZ
— Patagonia (@patagonia) September 14, 2022
Patagonia has taken measures to limit waste and fight climate change in the past, sometimes appearing to do so at the expense of profit. It's been a constant champion of using recycled materials, it has fought against companies spoofing its logo to promote oil drilling, and even said it would distance itself from the branded apparel market to avoid creating waste.
The company just announced today, too, that it is partnering with a recycled material company to use even fewer virgin materials in T-shirts.
"Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we are using the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source," Chouinard said. "We're making Earth our only shareholder. I am dead serious about saving this planet."
As part of this plan, the Patagonia Purpose Trust will control all of the voting stock of the company (2%), and climate change nonprofit Holdfast Collective will own the remaining nonvoting stock.
the Patagonia heirs today pic.twitter.com/MDo6oPW57Y
— Jessica Blankenship (@blanketboat) September 14, 2022
Chouinard reportedly also considered selling the company and donating the money, but worried about what direction the new owners would take his company. His other option was to become a publicly traded company, which he said would have been a "disaster."
"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," he said, according to NPR.
So, if there was any real hope that Patagonia would return to the promotional products space, or at least participate more than it currently is, this decision sort of squashes any of those hopes.