Patagonia boss gives company away to fight climate change

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Boss Yvon Chouinard has ‘given away’ Patagonia to a charitable trust. Any profit not reinvested in running the business will go to fighting climate change.

Yvon Chouinard, boss of Patagonia

Press Release:

PATAGONIA’S NEXT CHAPTER: EARTH IS NOW OUR ONLY SHAREHOLDER

Kicking off its next 50 years, the company is “going purpose” instead of “going public”

VENTURA, Calif. (September 14, 2022) — Patagonia announced new ownership today, nearly 50 years since founder Yvon Chouinard began his experiment in responsible business. Effective immediately, the Chouinard family has transferred all ownership to two new entities: Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective. Most significantly, every dollar that is not reinvested back into Patagonia will be distributed as dividends to protect the planet.

The Patagonia Purpose Trust now owns all the voting stock of the company (two percent of the total stock) and exists to create a more permanent legal structure to enshrine Patagonia’s purpose and values. It will help ensure that there is never deviation from the intent of the founder and to facilitate what the company continues to do best: demonstrate as a for-profit business that capitalism can work for the planet.

The Holdfast Collective owns all the nonvoting stock (98 percent of the total stock), and it will use every dollar received from Patagonia to protect nature and biodiversity, support thriving communities and fight the environmental crisis. Each year, profits that are not reinvested back into the business will be distributed by Patagonia as a dividend to the Holdfast Collective to help fight the climate crisis. The company projects that it will pay out an annual dividend of roughly $100 million, depending on the health of the business.

Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia founder, former owner, and current board member 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 leadership of the company does not change. Ryan Gellert will continue to serve as CEO and the Chouinard family will continue to sit on Patagonia’s board, along with Kris Tompkins, Dan Emmett, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Charles Conn (chair of the board), 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.

Yvon Chouinard, “The Chief”, models a full rack of hand-made gear at Tahquitz Rock

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia and Patagonia board member said:

“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.”

The company shared the news first with its employees in a global town hall event on September 14, 2022. Soon after, the website Patagonia.com was updated to state that Earth is now our only shareholder and to include a letter from founder Yvon Chouinard.

Diagram of business model

Additional Quotes from Patagonia Board of Directors

“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. And while he is in good health now, he wanted to have a plan in place for the future of the company and the future of the planet. I believe this plan that he and his family helped create is tectonic. It will make the company more competitive and its employees around the world will forever be empowered by purpose.” — Kristine McDivitt Tompkins

“Every time you read a new scientific report, it’s clear the climate crisis is happening faster than we thought and it’s worse than we thought. The stakes could not be higher. If we want to protect nature and support communities, businesses can’t continue to adhere to the prevailing economic model. Patagonia has been breaking the mold for decades, and now they have shattered it. Now I want to know, which companies will be next to step up?” — Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

“The current system of capitalism has made its gains at an enormous cost, including increasing inequality and widescale uncompensated environmental damage. The world is literally on fire. Companies that create the next model of capitalism through deep commitment to purpose will attract more investment, better employees, and deeper customer loyalty. They are the future of business if we want to build a better world, and that future starts with what Yvon is doing now.” — Charles Conn, chair of the board

“As founder of a company that has been in business for nearly 50 years, I’ve seen the positive and negative impact a business can have on its communities and employees. But while we and others do take meaningful steps to mitigate the impact we have on the planet, Patagonia’s new ownership structure introduces a new model that goes far beyond anything that exists today. And it’s true to form for my life-long friend and fellow environmentalist, Yvon Chouinard.” — Dan Emmett

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Cotic RocketMAXer. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Patagonia boss gives company away to fight climate change
  • jam-bo
    Full Member
    augustuswindsock
    Full Member

    This is impressive, well done Yvon!

    pmurden
    Full Member

    Nice work fella, Christ we need more of this.

    Bruce
    Full Member

    Isn’t there another thread about this up there?

    howsyourdad1
    Free Member

    outstanding. but stop buying bloody stuff all the time. i’m looking at you fresh goods friday.

    bruneep
    Full Member

    seems staff get the ability to start double threads, if we did that it would be shut down pronto

    [MOD] Staff post articles to the front page. These are then automatically replicated to the (News) forum, regardless of if a thread has already been started in the chat/bike forums.

    ads678
    Full Member

    seems staff get the ability to start double threads, if we did that it would be shut down pronto

    Noticed this a few times. Can’t see why they can’t just add a link to the front page story to the original thread that has 49 responses already.

    Mark
    Full Member

    It’s not a manual process. We publish a story and it creates a forum thread. And someone has helpfully done just what you suggested in the very first reply to this story

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    Corr. There’s a lot of miserable people responding today. Maybe its all the sack cloth and ashes being worn and hourly self flagellation with nettles that’s going on

    Lighten up – its good news (and fheck me there’s not much of that at present) – let’s have it 3 times !

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