Economic Insider

Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the outdoor apparel maker Patagonia, in Wilson, Wyo., Aug. 12, 2022. (Natalie Behring/The New York Times)
Photo Credit: New York Times

The creator of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, declared that he would donate every penny of the business’ profits to the campaign to tackle the climate crisis. According to the announcement, the Chouinard family will not benefit financially from the business. Instead, the money made by Patagonia would be donated to groups and causes that support environmental initiatives, land preservation, and biodiversity.

The Chouinard family created Patagonia fifty years ago, and ever since, the company has provided clothing to a variety of outlets. The corporation is worth $3 billion, based on a report by the New York Times.

The corporation has issued a statement stating that regular business activities and employee pay rates would continue as usual. Partner businesses and organizations would get the funds that were not reinvested as well as from operational costs for maintenance and other expenditures. As an illustration, Patagonia established the Holdfast Collective and Patagonia Purpose Trust, two nonprofit organizations and trusts focused on specific causes.

Holdfast Collective currently holds 98% of the non-voting stock, while Patagonia Purpose Trust controls all voting stock or 2% of the total shares.

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Capitalism, reimagined

It is critical that society and businesses reinvent capitalism, according to a message published by Patagonia on its website.

“While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact. One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.”

Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.

Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.”

Patagonia anticipates making more than $100 million in revenue and charitable contributions yearly once everything is in place. Additionally, this number will change based on how well the business does and customer buying patterns.

Gear for outdoor pursuits, including camping, fishing, and rock climbing, is one of the many goods offered by Patagonia. Other outdoor clothing is also available for purchase from the brand, along with food and drinks made using ecological materials.

The brand will still be competitive

According to Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert, the company’s aim could only be accomplished if the business continued to behave in the same way as previously and continued to generate income, potentially even more aggressively.

“I think what people fail to understand about Patagonia, both the past and today and the future, is that we are unapologetically a for-profit business,” stated Gellert.

“We are extremely competitive. The Chouinards are extremely competitive about the business. We focus on making high-quality products, standing behind that product for the usable life of it. We compete with every other company in our space, aggressively. I don’t think we have lost that instinct.”

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The family didn’t decide to declare their intentions for several years, according to Gellert. He continued by stating that while the owners intended to devote the business to noble causes fully, there was also a focus on establishing a structure that would uphold and maybe even strengthen Patagonia’s fiscal performance.

According to Gellert, despite the recently-enacted deal, Patagonia continues to pay its taxes.

“We are a company that very much believes in that. We are a company that has avoided complex structures both in the U.S. and globally to sidestep taxes. We are actually one of the few companies that have lobbied consistently and publicly for higher taxes, particularly in support of climate legislation,” Gellert explained.

Patagonia is one of the few corporations taking the initial steps toward rethinking what capitalism means as the globe struggles to combat the impacts of the climate crisis. The business changed its website’s tagline to read, “Earth is now our only shareholder.”

Source: CNBC

Opinions expressed by Economic Insider contributors are their own.

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