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Patagonia founder Yvon Choulnard hands over company in bold proceed to fight climate change

“As opposed to extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we have been utilizing the wealth Patagonia creates to safeguard the foundation,” founder Yvon Choulnard said. File Photo by longtaildog/Shutterstock

Sept. 15 (UPI) — The founder of popular outdoor retailer Patagonia says he’s turned over total control of the business, that is worth roughly $3 billion, to two environmental non-profits because of their fight climate change.

Founder Yvon Chouinard announced the move around in a letter posted to the Patagonia website late on Wednesday. Choulnard founded the outdoor gear company 50 years back and has been environmentally conscious.

“Earth is currently our only shareholder,” Chouinard said in a statement.

“It has been a half-century since we began our experiment in responsible business. If we’ve any hope of a thriving planet 50 years from now, it demands most of us doing all we are able to with the resources we’ve.”

The Chouinard family has transferred the business to non-profits Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective. The business said every dollar that isn’t reinvested will undoubtedly be distributed as dividends to safeguard the earth.

“Because the business leader I never wished to be, I’m doing my part,” Chouinard added. “Rather than extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth, we have been utilizing the wealth Patagonia creates to safeguard the foundation.

“I’m dead seriously interested in saving this planet.”

Yvon Chouinard, the 83-year-old founder of Patagonia, says he made a decision to give the outdoor retailer to greatly help in the global climate crisis. Photo courtesy Campbell Brewer/Patagonia

The Patagonia Purpose Trust now owns most of Patagonia’s voting stock and 2% of total shares. It had been founded to produce a more permanent legal structure to enshrine the business’s purpose and values.

The Holdfast Collective, however, now owns most of Patagonia’s non-voting stock, which amounts to 98% of most shares. It said that revenue will go toward protecting nature and biodiversity, supporting thriving communities and fighting the climate crisis.

“2 yrs ago, the Chouinard family challenged some of us to build up a fresh structure with two central goals,” Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert said in a statement. “They wanted us to both protect the objective of the business enterprise and immediately and perpetually release more funding to fight environmentally friendly crisis.

“We believe this new structure delivers on both and hopefully it’ll inspire a fresh way of conducting business that puts people and planet first.”

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