Founder of Patagonia Gives His Company Away

By Beau Cline

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, recently  made the wild decision to give his company to nonprofit organization Holdfast Collective. Holdfast Collective is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. 

Yvon Chouinard had humble beginnings. When he first started, his only customers were his friends. He started out making climbing gear and eventually joined the apparel industry. He has gone out saying he never wanted to be a businessman, but as one, he did very well  throughout his whole career making tough decisions for the company. They’ve always been in the business of helping the planet, as he’s grown older he thought of ways he could continue helping the planet. One of his ideas was to sell the company then donate all that money to a charity. However he later said “-we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.” Having no good solution, he decided to take it into his own hands, instead of funding the investors who extract the wealth from earth. He “used the wealth Patagonia makes to protect the source of all wealth.” 

To maintain the company’s integrity, Chouinard created the Patagonia Purpose Trust which guarantees the company’s profits will continue being used to help the Earth. Running this trust are a few family members, and selected advisers. Even with the donation of his company Chouinard and his family paid roughly 17.5 million dollars in taxes for the donation.

What does the future of Patagonia look like? For now, not much will change, but the profits from Patagonia will be put right back into fighting the environmental crisis at hand. Though this huge change is taking place 50 years after being founded, he stated “and we are just getting started.” “If we have any hope of a thriving planet — much less a thriving business — 50 years from now, it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is another way we’ve found to do our part,” Chouinard discloses. Hopefully this will start a new era  where large investors start doing their part to help the world we all live in.

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