Earlier this month, the founder of Patagonia, renowned for his alpine climbs in Yosemite National Park, announced the donation of the entire company to help fight climate change.
This announcement opens with "Earth is now our only shareholder" and beautifully closes with "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."
In 2019, Patagonia was named the UN's Champions of the Earth. This distinction honors the brand for its innovative combination of policies that have made sustainability the foundation of its business strategy.
According to the New York Times, Yvon Chouinard's decision to give up the family company is consistent with both his longtime love of the environment and his prolonged dislike for commercial conventions. Chouinard had a humble beginning, and that hasn't changed. In the 1960s, he ate cat food from damaged cans and lived out of his car. A billionaire who despises being called one, he has no phone or a laptop and still lives in modest residences in Jackson, Wyoming, and Ventura, California, and drives a beat-up Subaru.
Image by New York Times
The restructured Patagonia will continue to run as a private, for-profit organization but managed by new owners and not the Chouinard family. The "Patagonia Purpose Trust" and "Holdfast Collective," a nonprofit organization devoted to reversing environmental challenges and preserving the environment, will control the ownership.
Holdfast Collective has been granted 98% of the company's non-voting stock, and the remaining 2% (all voting shares) goes to the recently established Patagonia Purpose Trust. Family members will be in charge of managing the Trust.
Unlike other donations to humanitarian activities we hear of, the Patagonia founder's action is performed in such a way that the Chouinard family would receive no gain. Instead, the Chouinard family will pay about $18 million in taxes for the donation.
Yvon Chouinard is an example for his fellow billionaires and the rest of the world!
You can learn more about this recent move here: https://www.patagonia.com/ownership/