Patagonia founder to give the clothing company to trust, direct profits towards the fight against the climate crisis

Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire founder of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, said Wednesday that he is giving the company to a trust that will use its profits to fight the climate crisis.

Rather than sell the company or take it public, Chouinard, who became famous for alpine climbs in Yosemite National Park and has a net worth of $1.2 billion US, transferred his family’s ownership of the company to a trust and a non-profit that organization.

“Every year, the money we earn after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis,” he wrote in an open letter on the company’s website on Wednesday.

“Instead of extracting value from nature and turning it into wealth for investors, we will use the wealth created by Patagonia to protect the source of all wealth.”

Patagonia will continue to operate as a private, for-profit corporation, but the Chouinard family, which controlled the company until last month, no longer owns the company, according to the New York Times, which reported step on Wednesday.

The company’s voting stock is transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust while the non-voting stock is given to the Holdfast Collective, a non-profit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. The trust is administered by family members.

While wealthy individuals often make financial contributions to causes, the New York Times said the Patagonia founder’s operating structure meant he and his family would not receive financial benefits — and in fact will face a tax bill from the donation.