Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, hands over his company

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, hands over his company
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Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, announced Wednesday that he’s handing over his outdoor apparel company – an unorthodox move. It aims to help combat climate change and environmental crisis.

Inside letter In an article published on the company’s website, Chouinard wrote that ownership of the company, which was founded in 1973 and is reportedly worth approximately $3 billion, has been transferred to a trust created to protect the company’s values ​​and mission, as well as a nonprofit. organization.

“The world is now our sole shareholder,” he said. “100% of the voting shares of the company are transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, which was created to protect the values ​​of the company; and 100% of the non-voting stake was given to the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit dedicated to tackling the environmental crisis and defending nature.”

In addition, profits not reinvested in the business will be distributed by Patagonia as dividends to Holdfast Collective to help address climate change, according to a news release. The company estimates it will pay out an annual dividend of approximately $100 million, an amount that can vary depending on the health of the business.

Yvon Chouinard spoke about protecting public lands in a Patagonia advertisement published in August. 20, 2017. (Video: Patagonia/YouTube)

“It’s been half a century since we started our responsible business experience,” Chouinard, 83, said in a statement. “If we have hope for a thriving planet 50 years from now, it requires all of us to do everything we can with the resources we have. I do my part as the business leader I never wanted to be. Instead of taking value from nature and turning it into wealth, we use the wealth created by Patagonia to protect the resource.”

“I am very serious about saving this planet,” he added.

decision, which first reported Written by The New York Times, it reflects Chouinard’s maverick approach to preserving and connecting his work to political activism throughout his nearly five-year career. For example, in recent years the company Condemned President Donald Trump and members of his administration scaling of public land protections and went so far as to sue Embers.

Then in 2021 Patagonia, no longer sells its products at a popular Wyoming ski resort after one of the owners hosted a fundraiser featuring Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and other Republicans who support Trump.

Patagonia blasts REI national monument returns; ‘The President Stole Your Land’

The company also followed more traditional forms of activism. Beyond producing products with materials that are less harmful to the environment, Patagonia has donated and will continue to donate 1% of its sales to environmental nonprofits over the years.

The company financed a 2014 documentary film called “.Damn NationIt aimed to mobilize support to break down dams to revive wild fish populations.

In Wednesday’s letter, Chouinard explained that selling Patagonia or going public are both bad options. Although the company was sold and all profits were donated, there was no guarantee that a new owner would preserve the values ​​of the business or ensure that all its employees remained in employment. Chouinard wrote that it would be a “disaster” to take the company public.

“Even well-meaning publicly traded companies are under a lot of pressure to generate short-term gains at the expense of long-term viability and responsibility,” he wrote.

Chouinard wrote that choosing to give Patagonia was the final step in the company’s long experiment in responsible business.

“If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now – a much less thriving business – we will all have to do what we can with the resources we have,” he wrote. “This is another way we’ve found to do our part.”

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, said in a statement that the Chouinard family “challenged” him and several others two years ago to develop a new structure for the company with two central goals: “They wanted us both to uphold the purpose of the business and tackle the environmental crisis. “Promptly and consistently provide more funding for “We believe this new structure delivers both, and we hope it will inspire a new way of doing business that puts people and the planet first.”

Under the new arrangement, the Chouinard family will guide the Patagonia Purpose Trust and philanthropic work led by the Holdfast Collective, according to the news release. The leadership of the company will not change either. Gellert will continue to serve as CEO of the company, while the Chouinard family will remain on Patagonia’s board of directors.

Other board members praised the ownership transfer.

“Companies that create the next model of capitalism through deep commitment to purpose will attract more investment, better employees and deeper customer loyalty,” said chairman of the board, Charles Conn. Said. “They’re the future of business if we want to build a better world, and that future starts with what Yvon is doing now.”

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, a board member, said she had known Chouinard for nearly 60 years “his vision has never been shaken.”

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