BUSINESS AT ITS BEST: PATAGONIA
Ethics, When caring matters
You've probably heard of Yvon Chouinard by now, he's been in the news for very good reason this last week. The 83 year old billionaire owner of Patagonia has decided to give away all profits, that aren't invested back into the business, to environmental causes through the Patagonia Purpose Trust.
Patagonia is an outdoor clothing brand which started in 1957. As an avid climber, Chouinard bought a second-hand coal-fired forge to set up as a blacksmiths in his parent's back yard making pitons (metal pegs/spikes driven into rocks to support climbers' ropes). He sold them profitably to ensure he could spend his time on further adventures. However, he never wanted to be a businessman. According to The Guardian, regardless how successful his clothing company has become, he still drives a beaten-up Subaru with a surfboard strapped to the roof.
The Patagonia company have always been about using materials that cause less harm to the environment. They wanted to change the way business was done, hoping to influence customers and other businesses along the way. As their profits soared they realised they also needed to put money into fighting the crisis.
They could have sold the company and donated the money. But Chouinard states they wouldn't be sure a new owner would maintain their values or keep their employees across the globe. Chouinard goes on to say that they could have taken the company public, but "even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility." Therefore they created their own way.
"Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we’ll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth. Earth is now our only shareholder."
Business that puts people and planet first. We are most definitely here for that.