The founder of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, known for its eco-friendly stance, wanted to do more for the planet and decided to donate his business at the age of 83.
Yvon Chouinard could sell or take the brand public, worth three billion dollars, according to the New York Times.
In agreement with his wife and two children, he decided to transfer 100% of their shares in the company to a trust responsible for respecting its values and a community fighting against the environmental crisis and nature protection. , to whom the profits will be donated.
“The Earth is now our sole shareholder,” he wrote in a letter posted on Patagonia’s website.
“I never wanted to be a businessman. “I started as a craftsman, before moving into clothing by making climbing equipment for my friends and myself,” he recalls.
Founded nearly fifty years ago, Patagonia quickly became involved in nature conservation, carefully selecting its raw materials or donating 1% of its sales to environmental NGOs each year.
But that was not enough, its founder judged.
“One option is to sell Patagonia and give all the money. But we cannot be certain that a new owner will preserve our values or keep all of our employees,” he said in his letter.
And he predicts that taking Patagonia public would be a “disaster”: “Even well-intentioned listed companies are under a lot of pressure to create short-term profits at the expense of long-term power and accountability.
Patagonia remains a company that cares about its financial health and operates with a board of directors and a general manager.
Mr. The Chouinard family continues to “guide” the work of the Trust and the Association.