To “preserve the company’s ideals,” Chouinard has given all of Patagonia’s voting shares to the Patagonia Purpose Trust. Fight Against Global Warming Holdfast Collective, a non-profit “committed to battling the environmental catastrophe and safeguarding nature,” has received 100% of the company’s nonvoting shares.
Taking your work to the masses against “going purpose.”
As Chouinard points out, he could have sold Patagonia and given the money to charity. He didn’t want to go that route since he didn’t trust the new owner to keep the business the same and the staff they had.
Going public was another possibility, but he thinks it would be disastrous if executed poorly. In his opinion, “even public corporations with excellent intentions are under too much pressure to achieve short-term gain at the price of long-term vitality and responsibility.”
Chouinard states that he has decided against going public and instead would “go purpose.” What Patagonia means by this is, “Instead of taking value from nature and changing it into riches for investors, we’ll utilize the wealth Patagonia produces to safeguard the source of all prosperity.”
California Benefit Corporation:
With the goal of “putting our beliefs into our company charter so they would be maintained,” Patagonia is a recognized B Corp and a California benefit corporation.
The number of B-Corp accredited enterprises is far under 6,000 globally. B Labs requires that candidates achieve rigorous ESG requirements and benchmarks.
Chouinard claims he has always detested the commercial world. Instead, he claims to have begun as an artisan, creating climbing equipment for himself and his buddies before expanding into clothing.
Before he gave away the money, Forbes assessed his wealth to be $1.2 billion.
An Overview of Yvon Chouinard:
On November 9, 1938, Chouinard entered this world in Lewiston, Maine. Since he was the son of French Canadian immigrants, he was immersed in French until his family relocated to Southern California in 1947.
At that point, he began to have difficulty communicating in English. He started practicing cliff-diving after becoming interested in falconry.
His interest in the outdoors led him to take up surfing in addition to climbing. So that his 1957 eco-friendly climbing equipment wouldn’t hurt the environment, he trained himself in blacksmithing.
His marriage to Malinda Pennoyer took place in 1971. They vacationed in England and Scotland and were inspired to start selling clothing there. A rugby-style shirt became an instant hit.
Their first commercial catalog, released in 1972, advocated for “leave no trace” climbing.
Chouinard realized he required a well-known brand name when clothing sales quickly outpaced climbing tools.
Patagonia was founded in 1972 by three friends in Ventura, California.
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