Patagonia founder places company’s shares in a trust; future profits to combat climate change

“Earth is now our only shareholder.”

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Founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, 83, announced his decision to place 100 percent of the non-voting shares into a trust that will direct profits of the outdoor clothing and equipment company to help protect the environment and fight climate change. The stock will be under the control of the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit “dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.”

The new structure allows the company to “continue to function and to invest in its operations, but all profits not reinvested in the company will be distributed as dividends to the Holdfast Collective, which will direct them to environmental causes,” VOA reported.

“Earth is now our only shareholder,” Chouinard said.

One hundred percent of the company’s voting stock will be placed in the Patagonia Purpose Trust, which the Chouinard family will control. While the funding will continue to come from Patagonia, any profit made after reinvesting in the business will be “distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis,” according to a press release from Patagonia. The Chouinard family will “guide the philanthropic work performed by the Holdfast Collective.”

Chouinard said he considered other options, but “there were no good options available.”

“…we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed,” he said.

Chouinard said instead of “going public,” the company is “going purpose.”

“If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have,” Chouinard said. “This is what we can do. 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.

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