“Earth is now our only shareholder”: Yvon Chouinard divests Patagonia to save the Planet

“Earth is now our only shareholder”: Yvon Chouinard divests Patagonia to save the Planet

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, announced through a letter the divestment of the company to two nonprofits that will invest in protecting the Planet.

Like a bolt out of the blue, Yvon Chouinard announced the divestment of Patagonia aiming to protect the Planet. In his letter, Chouinard writes, “While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough”. Then he continues: “We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact.”

But how to do this?

The first option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money, but running the risk that the company’s new owners might not respect the original principles and values. As a result, a second route was considered, that of listing on the stock exchange, “What a disaster that would have been”, comments Chouinard. “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.”

No valid option. But Patagonia has always been an innovator; it could not give up on this goal without even trying. So Chouinard decided to come up with an ad hoc option, which was to create what they needed: two new entities to protect the Planet.

In sum, 100% of the voting stock will be transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust created to safeguard and protect corporate values. 100% of the non-voting stock, on the other hand, will go to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit organization committed to fighting the environmental crisis and protecting nature.

A choice that may seem crazy to some; after all, every innovative decision seems crazy at first.

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