After years of dedicating 1 percent of Patagonia profits to climate change, founder, and owner Yvon Chouinard has now decided to dedicate the entire business to fighting the climate crisis.
Chouinard began rock climbing as a child and translated that passion into one of the world’s most successful outdoor brands. The brand was founded in 1973 and has an estimated revenue of $1.5bn this year, while Chouinard’s net worth is thought to be around $1.2 bn.
Now, Chouinard believes that the fight against climate change requires an even larger amount of funding. “While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact.”
Instead of taking the company public, the founder decided to transfer all ownership to new entities. 100 percent of the company’s stock is transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust – created to protect the family’s core values, while 100 percent of the nonvoting stock has been given to the Holdfast Collective – a non-profit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis. The funding will be provided by Patagonia. “Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis,” he added.
Patagonia was one of the first companies to become a b-Corp. According to the company, the 1 percent for the Planet Scheme has resulted in $140m in donations towards the preservation and restoration of the environment.
It’s been nearly 50 years since we began our experiment in responsible business, 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,” he said, “Despite its immensity, the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and it’s clear we’ve exceeded its limits. But it’s also resilient. We can save our planet if we commit to it.