“Our only shareholder is the planet”, this is how the Chouinard family, owners of Patagonia, announced a change of ownership different from those we are used to. The company, which specializes in clothing and equipment for outdoor and food, still amazes almost 50 years after the founder Yvon Chouinard began his experiment in responsible business. Chouinard, who according to Forbes had $ 1.2 billion in assets before selling the company, is no longer a billionaire.
Effective immediately, the Chouinard family has transferred all ownership to two new entities: the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective. Every dollar not reinvested in the company will be distributed in the form of dividends to protect the planet.
“It's been half a century since we started our responsible business experiment,” commented Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, former owner and current board member. “If we want to hope to have a thriving and alive planet in another 50 years, we all need to do what we can with the resources we have. As a businessman, despite never wanting to be, I'm doing my part. Instead of extracting value from nature and turning it into profits, we will use the prosperity generated by Patagonia to protect the true source of all wealth. We are making the Earth our sole shareholder. I am serious about saving the planet ”.
"The Earth's resources are not infinite"
The company previewed the news with its employees, associates and associates at a global event on September 14, 2022. Shortly thereafter, the Patagonia.com website was updated to align with the statement “Our sole shareholder is now the planet ”, with a letter from the founder Yvon Chouinard.
"I started as a craftsman, producing climbing equipment for my friends and for myself, then I dedicated myself to clothing", reads the founder's letter. “Despite its immensity, the Earth's resources are not infinite and it is clear that we have exceeded its limits. But it is also resistant. We can save our planet if we commit ourselves to do so ”.
As stated in the press release issued by the company, Patagonia will remain a B Corp and will continue to donate 1% of sales to non-profit environmental associations each year. The company's leadership will not change. Ryan Gellert will continue to serve as CEO and the Chouinard family will continue to serve on the Patagonia board of directors along with Kris Tompkins, Dan Emmett, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Charles Conn (chairman of the board) and Ryan Gellert. The Chouinard family will also lead the company's controlling shareholder, the Patagonia Purpose Trust, electing and supervising the board of directors, and will also follow the philanthropic work done by the Holdfast Collective.
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is a certified B Corp company based in Ventura, California. Among the founding members of 1% for The Planet, Patagonia is internationally recognized for its commitment to the creation of products for specialists and for environmental activism. Its structure is based on a single shareholder: the planet. Profits not reinvested in the corporate business are redistributed, in the form of dividends, to protect it. Patagonia operates in outdoor clothing and equipment, food and related sectors through the following subsidiaries: Patagonia, Inc. (clothing and equipment), Patagonia Provisions (food), Patagonia Media (books, films and multimedia projects) , Fletcher Chouinard Designs, Inc. (surfboards), Tin Shed Ventures, LLC (investments), Worn Wear, Inc. (second-hand clothing and repairs) and Great Pacific Child Development Center (child care and development) .
We are very much in love with Patagonia, from today more.