Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire founder of outdoor fashion retailer Patagonia, has sold his business to an environmental and nonprofit trust.
Patagonia will continue to produce apparel, camping supplies and other goods, but all proceeds will go to organizations to fight climate change and pursue other environmental goals.
The company is well known for playing a leading role in activism, especially for environmental causes. “Instead of extracting value from nature and turning it into wealth for investors,” Chouinard writes in a public letter“we will use the wealth created by Patagonia to protect the source of all wealth.”
Chouinard explained that he considered selling Patagonia and donating the money to charity or taking the company public. But both options would have meant giving up control of the company. “Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gains at the expense of long-term vitality and accountability,” he said.
Chouinard, 83, is a former rock climber and founded Patagonia in California in 1973. Since then, the company has grown into a multi-billion dollar corporation. Patagonia’s estimated earnings were $1.5 billion this year, while Chounard’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion. “I never wanted to be a businessman,” he wrote. “I started out as a craftsman, making climbing gear for my friends and myself, then moved into clothing.”
Under the Trump administration, the company’s activist role has started to become much more important. In 2018, Patagonia said it would donate all money earned from tax cuts signed by President Trump to environmental causes. In 2017, the company joined a lawsuit to try to stop the federal government from reducing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah.
The new nonprofit that will use the company’s revenue, The Holdfast Collective, is a type of nonprofit that can make political donations. Thus, the Chouinard family did not benefit from any tax advantage for their donation to the group, the New York Times reported.
“The current system of capitalism has achieved its gains at enormous cost, including increased inequality and large-scale uncompensated environmental damage. The world is literally on fire,” said Charles Conn, Chairman of Patagonia’s Board of Directors. A declaration.
“Companies that create the next model of capitalism through a deep commitment to purpose will attract more investment, better employees and greater customer loyalty. They are the future of business if we are to build a better world. , and that future starts with what Yvon is doing now.