Patagonia Founder Leaves Behind $3 Billion Company To Fight Global Warming

It’s always good to have a cause and most people at least have an opinion, if not a strong one, about climate change. It seems as if Yvon Chouinard also has similar feelings, but he has the means and the ability to do something epic about it.

As the founder of Patagonia, he lived a busy life, caring for the $3 billion company. That company, which makes outdoor apparel is now in the hands of others because the Chouinard family has given over ownership to two different entities, the Holdfast Collective and the Patagonia Purpose Trust.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to a press release from Patagonia, the voting shares of the entire Chouinard family, including Yvon, his wife, and his children are cast through the Patagonia Purpose Trust. As a result, the trust controls the company and the family is focused on ensuring that the vision of the company will always be on helping the planet.

The Chouinard family gave their nonvoting shares to the Holdfast Collective. It is a nonprofit organization that fights climate change with the money that it receives from Patagonia.

If any of the annual profits are not given back to the company, they will be given to the Holdfast collective. After that dividend is received, those funds will be used to protect biodiversity and to ensure that the earth is a livable place. They will also use some of the $100 million annually to help thriving communities.

Photo: flickr/Dave Dugdale

83-year-old Chouinard is an American who got interested in business in the 1950s. As an avid surfer and rock climber, he began to invest in climbing equipment and sell it from his car.

At some point, he came to realize he was selling steel spikes that were damaging Yosemite rocks. He then changed to a more environmentally friendly model made of aluminum.

Patagonia was founded in 1973. From the start, the company was focused on environmental activism, meaning that part of the profits of the company went to help various environmental causes. The latest effort by Chouinard is just taking things to the next level.

Photo: flickr/Sam Beebe

One of the members of the Board of Directors of Patagonia, McDivitt Tompkins, had the following to say, according to Tompkins Conservation: “I first met Yvon when he was around 24, and today, he is almost 84. In all those years, his vision has never wavered. He wanted to do things his own way and on his own terms.”

She went on to speak about how he is still in good health and focused on the future of our planet. She also feels that the plan will make the company more competitive and its employees will be empowered by the purpose it creates.

PATAGONIA MAKES EARTH THEIR ONLY SHAREHOLDER Please join us in congratulating our close friends and allies at…

Posted by Tompkins Conservation on Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Chouinard also has plenty to say about the move in that direction. He said that they have been running the experiment in responsible business for over 50 years. If they hope to thrive for an additional 50, they have to do everything they can with the resources now.

He went on to say: “As the business leader I never wanted to be, I am doing my part. Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we are using the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source. We’re making Earth our only shareholder. I am dead serious about saving this planet.”

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