Patagonia founder gives company away to fight climate crisis

Yvon Chouinard
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The founder of outdoor gear company Patagonia, long known for environmental activism, says the company is transferring all of the its voting shares into a trust “dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.”

In a letter titled “Earth is now our only shareholder,” posted on the privately-held company’s website on Wednesday night, founder Yvon Chouinard said the 50-year-old company would transfer 100% of the its voting stock to the Patagonia Purpose Trust and and 100% of its nonvoting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective.

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“One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money,” Chouinard wrote. “But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.

“Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. 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.

“Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.

Each year after reinvesting profits back into the company, Chouinard said remaining funds will be distributed as a dividend to the trusts in their ongoing efforts to fight the climate crisis.

Despite its immensity, the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and it’s clear we’ve exceeded its limits. But it’s also resilient. We can save our planet if we commit to it,” Chouinard wrote.

 
 
 
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