Recently, popular outdoor clothing company Patagonia shocked the world by announcing a split in their companies shares. In a mission to combat climate change and protect company policies, Patagonia’s eccentric founder and ex-owner Yvon Chouinard decided to split Patagonia into two different entities. The first, Patagonia Purpose Trust, consisting of Chouinard’s children and close advisers, holds all of the company’s voting stock, ensuring that the company continues to run in line with their environmentally friendly policies. The rest of the company’s shares, the non voting portion, was transferred to Holdfast Collective, a non profit that combats climate change and protects the environment. Each year, Holdfast Collective will donate a dividend of Patagonia’s profits to the environmental crisis.
Chouinard has always operated Patagonia in an unconventional fashion, prioritizing the environment over Patagonias’s profits, hoping to change the way people did business in the process. In 2019, the company changed their mission statement to “We’re in a business to save our planet”, reflecting Chouinard’s desire to use Patagonia as a means of environmental stewardship. Chouinard’s latest move comes as a way to set his stones straight. At 83 years of age, he wanted to ensure that Patagonia would remain in good hands, and continue to combat climate change after he passed away. Chouinard pursued a plethora of options, such as selling his company, or taking it public, before deciding upon splitting his shares. In the future, he is optimistic that Patagonia will continue to set the bar in terms of climate change related actions policy, writing “We can save our planet if we commit to it.”