Patagonia owner donates $3 billion company to fight climate change

Via Flickr

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.”

Environmental winter clothing options

Young cyclist wearing REI winter gear. Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

Looking for new winter clothing? Consider some green options.

Many companies, including manufacturers of winter clothing, are now utilizing many environmental practices.

The Iowa State Daily reports that in addition to donating a portion of their sale’s revenue to environmental organizations and research, Patagonia is increasingly using recycled materials for their clothing. To date, Patagonia has made 34 tons of clothing from recycled material.

Other winter clothing companies such as REI and the Mountain Equipment Co-Op also show a firm commitment to the environment. REI hopes to become climate neutral by 2020, and the Mountain Equipment Co-Op uses recycled and organic material in most of their apparel.

For those into Do-It-Yourself projects, National Geographic offers tips for creating your own recycled clothing.