Yvon Chouinard is giving away the company to a trust. (Picture credit: AFP)
Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire founder of the outdoor retailer Patagonia on Wednesday announced that he has given the company away. The 83-year-old businessman's reason is indeed noble. Mr Chouinard did not sell the company or made it public, he transferred his $3 billion company to a specially designed trust and a non-profit organization. All of Patagonia's non-voting shares have been transferred to a nonprofit dedicated to fighting against climate change and nature protection and conservation, according to AFP.
"Earth is now our only shareholder," Mr Chouinard wrote in an open letter posted to Patagonia's website.
"I never wanted to be a businessman," he explained. "I started as a craftsman, making climbing gear for my friends and myself, then got into apparel."
He added, "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."
Many people are coming in support of Mr Chouinard's cause. Celebrity stylist Karla Welch thanked Patagonia for always leading. She took to her post the announcement made by Patagonia and wrote, “Earth is our only shareholder. Thank you for always leading @patagonia”
Check out the post here:
Not just Ms Welch, but many social media users applauded Mr Chouinard's move. A climate scientist on Twitter wrote, “Imagine if every billionaire did this. It would be the end of capitalism. Also, I'll bet it feels fantastic! Those billions have got to be chained weighing down the soul, and most billionaires don't even realize it, they become addicted instead.” Another user wrote, “This is what heroism looks like. Thank you!”
Founded almost 50 years ago, Patagonia quickly became committed to conserving nature, by carefully choosing its raw materials and donating one per cent of its sales each year to environmental NGOs.