Patagonia founder Yvonne Chouinard is stepping away from the company

Patagonia founder Yvonne Chouinard announced Wednesday that he is ditching the outerwear company — an unconventional move It aims to help combat climate change and the environmental crisis.

in message Chouinard, which was posted on the company’s website, wrote that the ownership of the company, which was founded in 1973 and said to be estimated at $3 billion, has been turned into a fund created to protect the company’s values ​​and mission as well as a non-profit organization.

“The land is now our only shareholder,” she said. “100% of the company’s voting stock is transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, which was created to protect the company’s values; and 100% of the non-voting stock is awarded to Holdfast Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating the environmental crisis and defending nature.”

In addition, profits that have not been reinvested in the business will be distributed by Patagonia as return to the Holdfast Collective to help tackle climate change, according to a press release. The company expects it will pay an annual dividend of about $100 million — an amount that could change depending on the health of the company.

Yvonne Chouinard spoke about the preservation of public lands in the Patagonia Declaration issued on August 20, 2017 (Video: Patagonia/YouTube)

“It has been half a century since we began our Responsible Business Experience,” Chouinard, 83, said in the statement. “If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it will require all of us to do everything we can with the resources we have. As a business leader I never wanted to be, I am doing my part. Rather than extract value from nature and transform it into Wealth, we use the wealth that Patagonia creates to protect the source.”

“I am very serious about saving this planet,” he added.

The decision that was first mentioned By the New York Times, it reflects Chouinard’s maverick approach to linking his work with conservation and political activism over the course of his nearly five-decade career. In recent years, for example, the company owns President Donald Trump and members of his administration have criticized the Reducing public land protection measures And the He went as far as sued trump card.

Then in 2021, Patagonia announced that it would do so She no longer sells her wares at the famous ski resort of Wyoming After one of the owners hosted a fundraiser featuring Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (Georgia) and other Republicans who support Trump.

Patagonia, REI Blow Up Retreat National Monument; “The president stole your land.”

The company has also pursued more traditional forms of activism. Besides making products with materials that cause less harm to the environment, Patagonia for years has largely donated 1 percent of its sales to grassroots environmental nonprofits, and will continue to do so.

The company funded a 2014 documentary film entitled “Dam Nation“, which aims to mobilize support for the demolition of dams in order to revive wild fish populations.

In a letter Wednesday, Chouinard made clear that selling Patagonia or going public with it were two flawed options. While the company could have been sold and all profits donated, there was no guarantee that the new owner would maintain the company’s values ​​or ensure that all of its workers would remain employees. Chouinard wrote that going public with the company would be a “disaster.”

“Even well-intentioned public companies are under great pressure to make short-term gains at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility,” he wrote.

Chouinard wrote that choosing to abandon Patagonia is the latest step in the company’s lengthy experience in responsible business.

“If we have any hope of a thriving planet—let alone a thriving business—50 years from now, it will require all of us to do the best we can with the resources we have,” he wrote. “This is another way we’ve found to do our part.”

Ryan Gilert, CEO of Patagonia, said in a statement that the Chouinard family had “challenged” him and a few others two years ago to develop a new structure for the company with two central goals: “They wanted us to protect the purpose of the business. The immediate and permanent release of more funding to fight the environmental crisis. “. “We believe this new structure fulfills both and hope it inspires a new way of doing business that puts people and the planet first.”

Under the new arrangement, the Chouinard family will direct the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the philanthropic work that Holdfast Collective does, according to the press release. The leadership of the company also will not change. Gellert will continue to serve as CEO of the company while the Chouinard family remains on the Patagonia board of directors.

Other board members praised the transfer of ownership.

“Companies that create the next model of capitalism through a deep commitment to purpose will attract more investment, better employees, and deeper customer loyalty,” Charles Kuhn, Chairman, said in a statement. “They are the future of business if we want to build a better world, and that future starts with what Yvonne is doing now.”

Board member Kristen McDevitt Tompkins said that in the nearly 60 years she had known Chouinard “his vision has never wavered.”

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