Billionaire CEO Gives Away His Company

Photo by Ashley Knedler on Unsplash

Patagonia has always been an outdoor retailer famous for its corporate activism. Founder Yvon Chouinard has now made one of the biggest moves towards activism by announcing that he would be giving Patagonia away to combat the environmental crises.

Chouinard, a rock climber who originally founded his company 50 years ago, is now going to be exiting his business by giving it to two groups who will be in charge of ensuring that Patagonia remains on target with its environmental justice goals. In a statement published on the company’s website, Chouinard said that Patagonia has always been focused on the environment, donating 1% of its sales annually to the cause and even ensuring the ethical outsourcing of material. However, the current scale of the environmental and ecological crisis requires a lot more than 1% to be combatted.

As he wrote, what they were doing was “not enough” which is why they needed to look for a new way of ensuring that the company would be aligned with its environmental values. In this fight, he said that one option would be to privately sell the company and donate the profits, but he claimed this move could end up leading Patagonia further away from its environmental goals.

This is why instead of going public or selling privately, Chouinard will transfer the company to the non-profit organization, Holdfast Collective, and the specially created Patagonia Purpose Trust, as a means of ensuring that Patagonia will be able to continue playing an active role in combating the climate crisis in the long run.

Chouinard has previously said that being on Forbes’ rich list was frustrating to him as he was a craftsman and had never sought to become a businessman let alone a billionaire.

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