Patagonia Founder Gives Away Company’s Entire Value for Climate Change


Patagonia CEO Yvon Chouinard: Lifelong devotee to the environment

Jonathan Buscher

83-year-old Yvon Chouinard never wanted to become a billionaire, and combined this selfless mindset with his desire to help the environment in a recent decision. 

After seeing himself listed as a billionaire in a business article in the news, Chouinard was “really pissed off,” as he wrote, “I never wanted to be a businessman,” and “I started as a craftsman, making climbing gear for my friends and myself, then I got into apparel.” In a quick response, the CEO announced that all of the company’s profits would go to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, which has a mission of preventing environmental disasters. 

Although the majority of the money will be going to this fund, the Chouinard family did end up working with lawyers in order for the company to remain for-profit, while still donating the majority of money made to climate change combating efforts. This includes 98% of Patagonia’s stock going to climate change-based projects involving environmental protection of things such as biodiversity, and habitat. The remaining 2% of the stock will be used to ensure that the apparel company follows Yvon Chouinard’s values. 

This is not the first instance of Patagonia’s devotion to the environment. Since 2001, the company has donated 1% of profits yearly, totaling over $140 million, used in projects involving the restoration of ecosystems. Patagonia even started a regenerative ag-brewery that uses a Kernza grain rather than wheat. Still, Chouinard remains committed, as he stated, “While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough.”