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Patagonia founder will give away entire company to save the planet

Capitalists, take note

Patagonia founder will give away entire company to save the planet  Capitalists, take note

The nature-loving mountaineer who founded a $3 billion empire with Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, has taken the most extreme step of all for a major apparel industry CEO: he has divested his entire company, dividing it between a trust named Patagonia Purpose Trust and a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental protection named Holdfast Collective. Both entities were created to keep the company completely independent and ensure that annual revenues of $100 million go entirely to fighting climate change and preserving natural territories. The company will therefore continue to exist as usual but its immense assets will no longer belong to the Chouinard family, which, having donated 2 percent of its voting stock to the trust, will also pay $17.5 million in taxes on the donation. As The New York Times notes, the charitable gesture comes at a time in history when public scrutiny is keeping a closer eye than ever on the behavior and wastefulness of celebrities and billionaires, and the public is increasingly sensitive to greenwashing tactics as evidenced by the recent backlash to Kourtney Kardashian's appointment as sustainability ambassador of fast fashion brand Boohoo.

Instead, the remaining 98 percent of the company's shares were donated to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit organization that will absorb all of the brand's profits and whose tax and legal structure allows for unlimited political donations. Again it should be noted that the family will not receive any benefits or tax relief from this second donation. «Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,. We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet», said the now former owner and head of the Chouinard family. The family has already poured $50 million into the Holdfast Collective and will give another $100 million by the end of the year without receiving a single tax benefit - a gesture that has stunned even analysts who have noted that even the world's richest individuals donate much smaller fractions of their fortunes and often do so while getting huge tax breaks. «I didn’t know what to do with the company because I didn’t ever want a company. I didn’t want to be a businessman. Now I could die tomorrow and the company is going to continue doing the right thing for the next 50 years, and I don’t have to be around», added Chouinard.