Patagonia's only shareholder: the earth
The transfer of all Patagonia shares to Trusts to protect the environment was all over the news in mid September and rightly so. Yvon Chouinard has built one of the world's most fascinating businesses, and at every step he has put values first.
I share Patagonia's story in Larkenby workshops because their values set is excellent, stitched into everything the company says and does, and delivers the goods:
1. Build the best product
2. Cause no unnecessary harm
3. Use business to protect nature
4. Not bound by convention.
Chouinard's starting point was values (mitigating the damage the climbing tools he used caused to the cliff faces he climbed). Over the decades Patagonia has constantly innovated to deliver those values as it grows into a $3bn business. And in the end those values have dictated his exit.
"Here’s how it works: 100% of the company’s voting stock transfers to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values; and 100% of the nonvoting stock had been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature."