Grace Smith | September 16, 2022
The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, is giving up ownership of his 50-year-old company. The outdoor clothing brand’s profits of $3 billion will be donated to organizations and projects to fight the climate crisis.
Chouinard, who gained popularity by alpine climbing in Yosemite National Park, announced his relinquishment Wednesday and released a statement on Patagonia’s website.
“Instead of ‘going public,’ you could say we’re ‘going purpose,’” the website letter said. “Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we’ll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth.”
Patagonia has been actively fighting climate change for years – using less harmful materials to the environment, becoming B Corp certified by meeting high social and environmental performance standards, and changing the company’s purpose in 2018 to a theme of saving the planet.
Chouinard said Patagonia is now owned by Holdfast Collective, a trust dedicated to protecting nature and fighting the climate crisis. An annual dividend of $100 million will be given to the Holdfast Collective depending on the year’s profits.
“Despite its immensity, the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and it’s clear we’ve exceeded its limits,” Chouinard’s letter said. “But it’s also resilient. We can save our planet if we commit to it.”