PLANET – ” The Earth is now our sole shareholder “. This is the position chosen by Yvon Chouinard, founder of the Patagonia brand when retiring. Passionate about climbing and adventure, committed to environmental issues, the 83-year-old American is donating his business… to the planet.
Since its creation in 1973, the Californian brand has been offering outdoor sports clothing, for skiing, mountain climbing or even surfing. Very quickly, its founder wanted these products to be eco-designed: Patagonia was thus one of the first companies to market fleeces made from recycled bottles.
Patagonia is also at the origin of the global movement 1% for the planet, which brings together companies that have decided to donate 1% of their turnover to associations for the preservation of the environment. A form of “tax for the Earth”, taken up by 1,000 companies in France. Transparency on the origin of raw materials, awareness campaigns, support for environmental actions: Patagonia has multiplied its commitments for the planet in recent decades.
Patagonia, the company worth 3 billion
When he retired, Yvon Chouinard wanted to go further. While his business is now worth three billion dollars according to the New York Times, he simply decided to bequeath it to organizations involved in the fight for the environment. In agreement with his wife and two children, he has decided to transfer 100% of their shares in the company to a trust, which will be responsible for ensuring that its values are respected, and the profits of the company will now be paid to Holdfast Collective, an NGO that fights against the environmental crisis and for the protection of nature.
The brand announced the news on twitter, in the greatest of simplicity: “ Hey guys, we just donated our business to planet earth “. Yvon Chouinard hopes that his gesture will inspire other companies to move towards a new, more virtuous model of economic success: “we can save our planet if we commit to it” he wants to believe.
Hey, friends, we just gave our company to planet Earth. OK, it’s more nuanced than that, but we’re closed today to… https://t.co/JDEE4qJ9Cs
The leader of Patagonia gives more explanations on his approach in a letter, published on the company’s website “One option was to sell Patagonia and give away all the money, he admits, but we couldn’t be sure that a new owner would maintain our values or keep all of our employees”.
Taking Patagonia public would have been “ a desaster “adds the founder of the brand: “ Even listed companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gains at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.. For years to come, the Chouinard family will continue to “ guide ” the work of the trust and the association, but will no longer receive a penny.
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