It’s a well-known fact that Patagonia is a firm believer in maintaining an eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical business in addition to producing quality functional outdoor gear. It still came as a shock to nearly everyone, though, when founder Yvon Chouinard announced in September that he and his family had given away full ownership of the company.
100 per cent of Patagonia’s non-voting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature, while the Patagonia Purpose Trust holds all of the company’s voting stock, ensuring that all decisions made adhere to the apparel giant’s values and mission. With the company valued at nearly US$3 billion, it’s estimated that nearly US$100 million annually will be made available. As Chouinard said; “Earth is now our only shareholder.”
Even long before this noble gesture, Patagonia had been pledging one per cent of sales towards preserving and restoring the natural environment, awarding over $140 million to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups. In 2002, Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews — owner of Blue Ribbon Flies — created the non-profit corporation ‘1% For The Planet’ to encourage other businesses to do the same. Companies that have joined the programme can receive advice on pairing with partners that align with their values, can donate directly without an intermediary, and be certified for their acts of goodwill. Patagonia Hong Kong has also become an official member of the 1% For The Planet, ensuring the funds are spent on local environmental partners in order to tackle issues that are close to us.