Billionaire Patagonia owner gives away company to help tackle climate change

Patagonia is help tackling climate change. Credit: PA

The founder of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has given the company away to help fight climate change.

Billionaire Yvon Chouinard says any profit not put back into the company will go to environmental causes and campaigns.

The 83-year-old has an estimated worth of £1 billion, and it is hoped his decision will mean around £87 million annually will go to those fighting climate change.

In a letter on the company’s website, Chouinard said: “As we began to witness the extent of global warming and ecological destruction, and our own contribution to it, Patagonia committed to using our company to change the way business was done.

“If we could do the right thing while making enough to pay the bills, we could influence customers and other businesses, and maybe change the system along the way.”

Patagonia, with estimated annual revenues of £1.3 billion, have previously taken a number of measures to help tackle global warming but Chouinard believes this did not go far enough.

“Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility," he said.

The Patagonia Purpose Trust, run by the family, will be the company’s controlling shareholder, while Holdfast Collective, a US charity will own the non-voting stock of the company, and will hand over all non-reinvested profit.

“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,” said Chouinard.“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.”