The founder of outdoor apparel brand Patagonia transferred ownership of the company to two entities that will carry on his “dead serious” mission of protecting the environment.
Founder Yvon Chouinard transferred all the company’s voting stock (2%) to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, while giving the Holdfast Collective ownership of all the nonvoting stock (98%), according to a press release from the company.
The Purpose Trust’s goal is to demonstrate how a for-profit business can still serve environmental interests. Holdfast’s is to take any profits not reinvested into the business to “help fight the climate crisis,” per the release.
Patagonia projects that Holdfast will pay out an annual dividend of about $100 million, depending on the health of the business.
“It’s been a half-century since we began our experiment in responsible business. If we have any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it demands all of us doing all we can with the resources we have,” Mr. Chouinard, 83, said in the Wednesday release.
He went on to say that “instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we are using the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source. We’re making Earth our only shareholder. I’m dead serious about saving this planet.”
Despite formally transferring ownership to the Purpose Trust and Holdfast Collective, the Chouinard family is still intimately involved in the company.
The family will still sit on the board of directors and will guide the Purpose Trust. They will also elect and oversee Patagonia’s board, which remains the same despite the change in ownership.
Helping steer the philanthropic work done by the Holdfast Collective will include the Chouinard family as well.
Patagonia said it will continue to donate 1 percent of sales each year to grassroots activists.