The Chouinard family has just created a trust and an NGO dedicated to investing all profits from the Patagonia company in environmental protection!

The history of Patagonia is intimately linked to the environmental and social values of its founder Yvon Chouinard. Founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard and his wife Malinda in Ventura, California, Patagonia specializes in outdoor clothing and equipment. Although the Patagonia adventure began in 1973, Yvon Chouinard’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1957. That is when this outdoor enthusiast, dissatisfied with the climbing equipment available on the market, began to manufacture his own pitons and carabiners for his personal use. In 1965, as the reputation of his products grew, this Maine native with Quebec roots joined forces with Tom Frost, a climber and aeronautical engineer, to found Chouinard Equipment. The company grew rapidly and became the leading supplier of climbing equipment in the United States in the 1970s. From then on, Chouinard and Frost were aware of the downside of their success. Indeed, climbing equipment considerably damaged the rock faces. In 1972, they took an ecological turn by developing the first “clean climb”, aluminum chocks that could be wedged by hand rather than with a hammer. This was followed by the Patagonia line of outdoor clothing created in 1973.  Eventually, all of the company’s activities would be grouped under this brand. As environmental activists, Yvon and Malinda Chouinard have never ceased to implement measures to protect the planet. As early as 1986, they decided to donate 10% of their company’s profits to non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental protection. A few years later, they increased their contribution by donating 1% of their sales instead. Consistent with its “Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle” mantra, Patagonia uses only organic cottons and recycled materials to make its clothing and encourages the sale of used Patagonia clothing from its stores. All of these measures culminate in 2018 toward Patagonia’s new mission statement, “We are in business to save our home planet.” Recently, Yvon Chouinard, his wife Malinda and their two children decided to transfer 100% of Patagonia’s shares to the Patagonia Purpose Trust. They have also established an NGO to donate all annual profits (approximately $100 million) to environmental causes. Although the Chouinard family is stepping down from Patagonia, they will sit on the trust to choose the various causes that fit their mission and values. This is a new way to do more for the planet that will inspire new generations of entrepreneurs!

Read the news: ‘Patagonia’s billionaire owner gives away company to fight climate crisis’

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