A model wearing a Patagonia jacket.Vanni BasettiGetty Images
In a rare surprise of good news for the sustainable fashion movement, outdoor clothing brand Patagonia announced a precedent decision this week. The brand’s founder, her 83-year-old Yvon Chouinard, donates her $3 billion company to her two environmental organizations. “Earth is now our sole shareholder,” Chouinard began. statement Released this week.
What this means is that 98% of Patagonia’s stock will be donated to the Holdfast Collective, a newly formed nonprofit that invests in protecting nature, biodiversity and communities. All shares are non-voting, so the Collective has no involvement in how Patagonia operates. The remaining 2% of his will be donated to the Patagonia Purpose Trust. The Patagonia Purpose Trust will be run by members of the Chouinard family to ensure that the brand continues to uphold the mission and values it set out nearly 50 years ago. A family that used to make about $100 million in profits each year no longer receives that money.
Patagonia has a long history of philanthropy.That he was an early adopter of the B-Corp movement, whose founder helped found 1% for the planet Never before in 2002 has there been such a movement in the apparel industry. Chouinard said that instead of going public, selling the business and donating the profits, he came up with an entirely new solution that would leave his family out of control of Patagonia’s future. “Instead of ‘going public,’ we can say ‘go for it,'” he said in a statement. “Instead of extracting value from nature and turning it into investor wealth, we use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth.”
Preserving nature has always been part of the brand’s DNA, so there’s no doubt that Chouinard’s decision made perfect sense for Patagonia.Chouinard also calls himself “Existential Dirtbag” I never wanted to be a businessman, let alone a millionaire. He drives an old Subaru and says he has no phone or computer. new york timesHe is, by all accounts, an outlier as far as billionaires are concerned.
But his decision feels significant. In an industry riddled with greenwashing, viable sustainability, and climate goals that are neither achievable nor ambitious, his rejection of the status quo is reinforced. Released her ‘sustainable’ collection with fashion brand boohoo (yes, the exact same boohoo that was paying clothing workers in Leicester £3.50 an hour during the pandemic). As it turns out, the criticism of this problematic (in multiple ways) collaboration is loud and clear. Enough of the public.
Millionaires who made their fortunes through fashion are endless.according to 2022 Forbes Billionaires Listthe global industry has produced about 250 millionaires, and Chouinard’s bold environmental commitments will undoubtedly catch their attention.