Breaking News
More () »

Patagonia billionaire gives away his $3B outdoor apparel company

In a letter shared Wednesday, Yvon Chouinard pens his reasoning for shifting ownership of his company.
Credit: AP
FILE - A Patagonia store in Pittsburgh is seen, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

WASHINGTON — Yvon Chouinard, who for 50 years was the founder of outdoor apparel Patagonia, has given away his $3 billion company. 

His motive? Fighting the current climate crisis. In a letter shared on Wednesday, Chouinard pens his reasoning for shifting ownership of his company to a trust and nonprofit organization dedicated to combating climate change.

"While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact."

Rather than selling the company or making it public, Chouinard created a specially designed trust named the Patagonia Purpose Trust. According to his letter, the trust will "protect the company's values."

Aside from the trust, Patagonia's profits will be dedicated to Holdfast Collective a non profit dedicated to combating the environmental crisis. Each year, the company will contribute all of its profits, which the New York Times reports is some $100 million a year.

Chouinard, the 83-year-old rock climber turned billionaire, reminded people of his reluctance to become a businessman in his letter.

"I never wanted to be a businessman. I started as a craftsman, making climbing gear for my friends and myself, then got into apparel," he said in his letter.

Patagonia, which sells more than $1 billion worth of ski pants, jackets and other outdoor apparel, will continue to be a for-profit corporation, the New York Times reported.

However, Chouinard no longer owns the company.

In August, the 83-year-old transferred all the company's voting stock, or about 2% of all shares, into the new trust overseen by family members and close advisers, according to the New York Times. The family members are expected to pay $17.5 million in taxes. 

The remaining 98% of Patagonia went to the nonprofit organization. Previously, the company had donated $50 million to the Holdfast Collective.

"If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a thriving business—50 years from now, it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is another way we’ve found to do our part," Chouinard said at the end of his letter.

Before You Leave, Check This Out