(New York) The founder of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, known for its pro-environment stance, decided at 83 to donate his company.
Posted at 6:40 p.m.
Yvon Chouinard could have sold the brand, valued at three billion dollars according to the New York Timesor take it public.
In agreement with his wife and two children, he decided instead to transfer 100% of their shares in the company to a trust responsible for ensuring that its values are respected, and to an association fighting against the environmental crisis and the protection of nature, to whom the profits will be donated.
“Earth is now our sole shareholder,” he wrote in a letter posted on Patagonia’s website.
“I never wanted to be a businessman. I started as a craftsman, making climbing equipment for my friends and myself before moving on to clothing,” he recalls.
Founded almost fifty years ago, Patagonia quickly became involved in the protection of nature, paying attention to its raw materials or donating 1% of its sales each year to environmental NGOs.
But it was not enough, judged its founder.
“One option was to sell Patagonia and give away all the money. But we could not be sure that a new owner would maintain our values or keep all of our employees,” he said in his letter.
And taking Patagonia public would have been “a disaster,” he predicted: “Even listed companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gains at the expense of long-term vitality and accountability. term “.
Patagonia will remain a company, which cares about its financial health and will operate with a board of directors and a general manager.
Mr. Chouinard’s family will continue to “guide” the work of the trust and the association.
The Article Is In French 🡽