Status: 09/15/2022 10:26 AM
Patagonia founder Chouinard has moved his multi-billion dollar apparel company to a charitable foundation. All profits are to go to the fight against climate change – that’s $100 million this year alone.
Yvonne Chouinard, the founder of California outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia, has moved his company to a non-profit foundation. The 83-year-old wants to make his assets available to protect the environment – specifically measures to combat climate change.
Accordingly, founder Chouinard and his family relinquished control of the company in August. A portion of the shares went to a trust company, too large for a newly established foundation called Holdfast Collective. “Earth is now our sole shareholder,” Chouinard wrote in an open letter posted on Patagonia’s website.
“We had to find a way to put more money into fighting this crisis while keeping the values of the company intact,” Chouinard continued. All profits that are not directly reinvested in the company must go to the foundation. According to the New York Times, that’s $100 million this year alone. The family has already donated $50 million for this. “Hopefully it will affect a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Chouinard told the newspaper.
Estimated value: $3 billion
Chouinard founded Patagonia nearly 50 years ago and has always been conscious of environmental and climate protection while managing the company. For example, the company carefully selects the raw materials to be used based on ecological criteria and donates a percentage of sales each year to environmental organizations. According to the New York Times, Patagonia is worth $3 billion.
Chouinard said he was considering selling the company and donating the proceeds. “But we’re not sure then that a new owner will uphold our values and hire our team of people from around the world.”
Along the path chosen, Patagonia remains a commercially oriented company with a Board of Directors and a Managing Director. The Chouinard family will no longer receive any money from the company, but will be represented on the company’s board and oversee the foundation and environmental organization to which the benefits will be donated.
“If you have any hope of a habitable planet in the next 50 years, you have to do whatever you can with your resources,” Chouinard said in the statement. “Earth’s resources are not infinite and it is clear that we have already exceeded their limits.”
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