Ownership of the company, founded in 1973 and reportedly valued at about $3 billion, has been transferred to a trust created to protect the firm’s values, as well as a nonprofit organization

By Allyson Chiu

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard announced Wednesday that he is giving away the outdoor-apparel company — an unorthodox moveintended to help combat climate change and the environmental crisis.

In a letter posted to the company’s website, Chouinard wrote that ownership of the company, which was founded in 1973 and reportedly valued at about $3 billion, has been transferred to a trust that was created to protect the company’s values and mission as well as a nonprofit organization.

“Earth is now our only shareholder,” it said. “100% of the company’s voting stock transfers to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values; and 100% of the nonvoting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.”

In addition, profits that aren’t reinvested back into the business will be distributed by Patagonia as a dividend to the Holdfast Collective to help address climate change, according to a news release. The company projects that it will pay out an annual dividend of about $100 million — an amount that could change depending on the health of the business.

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“I am dead serious about saving this planet,” he added.

The decision, which was first reported by the New York Times, reflects Chouinard’s maverick approach to tying his business to conservation and political activism over his roughly five-decade career. The company lambasted President Donald Trump and members of his administration for scaling back public land protections, and even sued Trump over his move to cut Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent.

Several of Chouinard’s allies said that his move reflected his long-standing approach to environmentalism.

“It’s kind of crazy to say it doesn’t surprise me,” said Josh Ewing, who worked with Patagonia to expand Bears Ears’ boundaries while heading the nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa.

“I’ve had the opportunity to appreciate the just unique and unprecedented leadership that the Chouinards, as well as staff at Patagonia, have put into conservation and climate leadership,” said Ewing, who now directs the Rural Climate Partnership.

Valley of the Gods within the Bears Ears National Monument. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

In 2021, Patagonia announced it would no longer sell its merchandise at a popular Wyoming ski resort after one of the owners hosted a fundraiser featuring Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and other Republicans who support Trump.

Patagonia, REI blast national monument rollbacks; ‘The President Stole Your Land’

The company has also pursued more traditional forms of activism. Beyond making products with materials that cause less harm to the environment, for years Patagonia has donated 1 percent of its sales largely to grass-roots environmental nonprofits, and will continue to do so.


Read the letter

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