Charitable Chouinard

by Jasmine Fisher-Wright, 2022

Yvon Chouinard, the Forbes recognised $1.2 billionaire and founder of the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia. He has been celebrated recently due to his decision to donate 98% of the company and all of its non-voting stock to The Holdfast Collective with the remaining 2% and all of the voting stock being held by The Patagonia Purpose Trust, built to help protect the company’s values.

Photograph: Patagonia

“Earth is now our only shareholder”

In their recent page on the company website , the founder writes a personal letter to the consumers of Patagonia on his important and industry changing decision.

Instructing the business professionals of today how and why change needs to happen.

With the brand pledging 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment, Patagonia isn’t shy to talk about the serious and severe implications the fashion industry has on the planet. In which, the brand created a non-profit corporation named ‘1% for the Planet’ to encourage other businesses to do the same thing, in their own words to “understand that profit and loss are directly linked to [the planet’s] health, and are concerned with the social and environmental impacts of the industry” asking business owners to reach out to the cause to “affect real change” with the satisfaction of “paving the way for more corporate responsibility in the business community and the recognition, support and patronage of conscientious consumers who value serious commitment to the environment” referring to the growth in concern amongst Generation Z and their purchasing behaviours.

The opening image of Chouinard, 83, on Patagonia’s website writing the impactful statement “Earth is now our only shareholder” strikes the correct, raw and realistic truth that is shadowing todays fashion industry. This pioneer and accidental business-man is known for his outspoken grounded ways, “to say and do things for the shock value” stated a fellow climbing pioneer and business-man Doug Tompkins for an Outside interview back in 2001.  So, to this, is Chouinard the hero we need in this failing planet? Can he awaken the realistic and future corporate social responsibility efforts fashion brands need to bring to the table in order to fix and hopefully provide a balanced and sustainable future for the upcoming generations and the ecosystem around them?

We give thanks to Chouinard and the leap he has made to bring to light the decisions that need to be made in the fashion industry, especially the well-developed brands that can afford to take similar actions or even better, match the efforts made by our respected and aspirational Yvon Chouinard and his team.

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