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The Founder of Patagonia Just Gave Away His Company in Support of Environmental Causes

Patagonia founder and longtime nature-lover Yvon Chouinard is combatting climate change by giving away his company.

Written by
Calin Van Paris

As a brand, Patagonia is synonymous with nature, exploration, and outdoor adventure. But what does that look like in the wake of climate change? Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is broaching this fundamental crux in a truly inspiring guise: he's giving his company away in an effort to help save the planet.

As reported by the New York Times, Chouinard and his family are forgoing the opportunity to sell the $3 billion company or take it public, instead transferring the brand and all its assets to a unique trust and nonprofit. "They were created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits—some $100 million a year—are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe," says reporter David Gelles.

Chouinard is a longtime rock climber and surfer, passions that helped inspire the brand's 1972 founding and its continued ethos. He's also a career climate activist. In addition to implementing an Earth Tax and founding 1% for the Planet, Patagonia has long championed a "no-buy" mentality, encouraging consumers to reuse, and was the first California business to become a B Corp.

In short, though this move is monumental, it's in keeping with the way Chouinard chooses to exist on this planet: he prioritizes it. Here's hoping that more people in his position have the courage to do the same.