“Earth is now our only shareholder.” – Yvon Chouinard
All B Corporations are aware of Patagonia – one of the earliest and most admired B Corps. Patagonia is an international company that creates a line of equipment and clothing targeted to serve customers who love the outdoors and participate in outdoor sports. The company has an extensive product line that even includes food and drink as well as used gear for resale.
Over the years Patagonia consistently set a high standard as a ‘green’ corporation – they are true environmentalists. This plus a culture of integrity about the workforce and creators of their products have made it a much-admired example of what can be done to ‘Be the Change’ we would like to see in the world.
The founder and owner of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, has recently set an example that is truly inspiring.
He announced that he has given away his company to do even more for the planet.
Patagonia, valued at $3 billion, according to The New York Times could have been sold or taken public. Neither of these options fit with Chouinard’s founding principles. So, once again, he created his own path.
Chouinard transferred 100% of Patagonia’s voting stocks to a trust in charge of ensuring the brand’s environmental values are respected and 100% of the nonvoting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. Funding will come from Patagonia.
His decision is a wonderful gift to B Corporations, reminding us that we don’t have to lose our footing in changing times. He wrote a letter and posted it at the Patagonia website in which he explained that he never wanted to be a businessman – he was more of a craftsman. He liked to make climbing gear, so he started his business with gear and apparel. His intention was to do the right thing while making enough to pay the bills. He thought that maybe, by respecting the Earth, Patagonia could be an influence on others and help in changing the system.
Chouinard said, “Despite its immensity, the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and it’s clear we’ve exceeded its limits. But it’s also resilient. We can save our planet if we commit to it.”
Readers can find the full letter HERE.