Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s is giving away his billion-dollar company. BoF chief sustainability correspondent Sarah Kent explains why — and what influence the change could have on the culture of business.
Patagonia has long been the standard bearer for responsible capitalism: the jackets and fleece maker has donated 1 percent of all sales — which top $1 billion a year according to The New York Times — to environmental groups since the ’80s, and was one of the first companies to qualify for B-Corp sustainability certification. In its latest bid to live out its mission statement, “founder Yvon Chouinard gave most of Patagonia’s shares over to a non-profit which will be tasked with reinvesting its profits (projected at some $100 million a year) in fighting the climate crisis. “Earth is our shareholder now,” Chouinard wrote in an open letter on the company’s site.
“This is pretty unprecedented. Individuals don’t do this, and it almost broke the bounds of what people had imagined business should look like, ” said BoF chief sustainability correspondent Sarah Kent.
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