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Patagonia founder gives away all company profits to ‘saving this planet'

Tom Shearsmith
15 September 2022

The ownership of outdoor clothing company Patagonia has been transferred to a trust, with all proceeds going to environmental charities.

Founder Yvon Chouinard last night announced that all the company’s profits will go into saving the planet. Chouinard, who turned his passion for rock climbing into the successful sportswear brands, is giving the entire company to a trust and nonprofit, designed to filter all of the company’s profits into efforts to save the planet.

Patagonia Purpose Trust will oversee the company’s strategy, holding 2% of its voting stock; the Holdfast Collective, responsible for the company’s economic interest, will hold the other 98% and will distribute an annual dividend from any cash not reinvested into Patagonia.

Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder, said: “It’s been a half-century since we began our experiment in responsible business. If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it demands all of us doing all we can with the resources we have. 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.”

Patagonia will remain a B Corp and continue to give one percent of sales each year to grassroots activists.

The company also confirmed that the leadership of the company will not not change, with Ryan Gellert continuing to serve as CEO and the Chouinard family continuing to sit on Patagonia’s board, along with Kris Tompkins, Dan Emmett, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Charles Conn, and Ryan Gellert.

The Chouinard family will also guide the company’s controlling shareholder, the Patagonia Purpose Trust, electing and overseeing Patagonia’s board of directors. They will also guide the philanthropic work performed by the Holdfast Collective.

Acting together, Patagonia’s board and the Patagonia Purpose Trust will work for the company’s continued success over the long term while ensuring it stays true to its purpose and values.

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia and Patagonia board member, added: “Two years ago, the Chouinard family challenged a few of us to develop a new structure with two central goals. They wanted us to both protect the purpose of the business and immediately and perpetually release more funding to fight the environmental crisis. We believe this new structure delivers on both and we hope it will inspire a new way of doing business that puts people and planet first.”

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