Billionaire Patagonia Founder Gives Company Away to Fight Climate Change

Joel Eisenberg

Yvon Chouinard, founder of the outwear apparel company, has stated “Earth is now our only shareholder.”

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Yvon ChouinardPublicity Photo

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: Reuters.com, Patagonia.com, Wikipedia.org, and People.com.

Introduction

According to a September 14 article from Reuters.com, “Patagonia Founder Gives Away Company to Help Fight Climate Crisis,” the decision was long in the coming.

As excerpted from the article: Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire founder of the outdoor apparel brand Patagonia, said on Wednesday he is giving away the company to a trust that will use its profit to fight the climate crisis. Instead of selling the company or taking it public, Chouinard, who became famous for alpine climbs in Yosemite National Park and has a net worth of $1.2 billion, is transferring his family's ownership of the company to a trust and a non-profit organization."Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis," he wrote in an open letter on the company's website on Wednesday.

That open letter can be found here.

The letter, which Chouinard titled “Earth is Now Our Only Shareholder,” explains the engagement: Here’s how it works: 100% of the company’s voting stock transfers to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values; and 100% of the nonvoting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. The funding will come from Patagonia: Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis.

Let us explore further.

About Yvon Chouinard and Patagonia

Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the Patagonia clothing line, and its philanthropic owner: Patagonia, Inc. is an American retailer of outdoor clothing. It was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973 and is based in Ventura, California. Patagonia has hundreds of stores in 10+ countries across five continents, as well as factories in 16 countries.

The Wikipedia page goes on to discuss a bit about Chouinard’s life: Yvon Chouinard, an accomplished rock climber, began selling hand-forged mountain climbing gear in 1957 through his company Chouinard Equipment. He worked alone selling his gear until 1965, when he partnered with Tom Frost in order to improve his products and address the growing supply and demand issue he faced. In 1970, Chouinard obtained rugby shirts from Scotland that he wore while climbing because the collar kept the climbing sling from hurting his neck. Great Pacific Iron Works, Patagonia's first store, opened in 1973 in the former Hobson meat-packing plant at Santa Clara St. in Ventura, near Chouinard's blacksmith shop.

Per People.com’s “Patagonia Founder Gives Away the $3 Billion Company: 'Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder,'” Chouinard, and his company, have shared a history of actionable endeavors to aid the planet: In his message titled "Earth is now our only shareholder," Chouinard, 83, confessed, "I never wanted to be a businessman." Instead, he began his career as a craftsman and created "climbing gear for my friends" before entering the apparel industry with Patagonia. He went on to note the company's mission to help prevent "global warming and ecological destruction" by creating eco-friendly clothing and annually donating 1 percent of its sales. It later earned B Corp certification and garnered California benefit corporation status. Patagonia has since been "in business to save our home planet."

The latest endeavor is presently being effectuated.

Conclusion

In the event of any updates regarding Chouinard‘s history-making business decision, I share will updates here, on NewsBreak.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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