Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Yvon Chouinard donates Patagonia
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Snowshovel
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PostWed Sep 14, 2022 6:20 pm 
A trust to be created and profits spun into the world and climate https://www.patagonia.com/ownership/

jaysway, Anne Elk, graywolf, Schroder, Cyclopath, seawallrunner, Waterman
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Sep 15, 2022 11:19 am 
Some people are so poor they have nothing but money. This is a great counter example! up.gif

seawallrunner
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Route Loser
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PostThu Sep 15, 2022 5:11 pm 
This looks like a very tax-efficient method of transferring voting control to heirs. And at least as promising a marketing strategy as "Don't buy this jacket." Undoubtedly some profits will continue to fund effective conservation efforts. Undoubtedly some will be wasted on ineffectual contributions, and political contributions unrelated to the stated mission. Employees will continue to be exceedingly pleased with their jobs compared to most other businesses, but when Chouinard decided, "there were no good options" for the future of the company, he seemingly forgot a transfer of some portion of control and/or value to the people who create the value.

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Waterman
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PostThu Sep 15, 2022 6:04 pm 
Chouinard has demonstrated in the past that he cares about his employees and the environment ,and is more than willing to put his money on the line. Show me any businessman who has done as much good other than his buddy Tompkins. The guy is a inspiration.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

Anne Elk, Cyclopath, graywolf
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Pyrites
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PostThu Sep 15, 2022 10:01 pm 
An article from northern Cascadia. $100m cad donation to BC Parks https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/chip-wilson-nature-donation-1.6584267

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!

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Sculpin
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 7:39 am 
Route Loser wrote:
he seemingly forgot a transfer of some portion of control and/or value to the people who create the value.
I noticed that as well. Here is what he actually committed to: "Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis." rolleyes.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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Bosterson
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 9:46 am 
I'm curious who you mean by the "people who create the value" - the employees? (And if so, which? just the retail/business side? the 3rd party vendors across the world who literally create the materials and products?) Or do you mean public ownership - ie, to the people who are the ones buying the products and making the company money? Functionally this seems no different from last week - the Chouinard family and their inner circle still choose the direction of the company, but the business profits no longer flow to the private owners (the family). Patagonia used to allocate a certain amount of money as a kind of internal grant program that the employees could vote to distribute to charities, etc. To the extent that they are structuring it now so that all business profits will now be charitably distributed (vs accruing to owners), I understood the "dividend" reference to just be an explanation of how the profits pass from the business into its new charitable structure to be distributed.

Go! Take a gun! And a dog! Without a leash! Chop down a tree! Start a fire! Piss wherever you want! Build a cairn! A HUGE ONE! BE A REBEL! YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE! (-bootpathguy)
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Route Loser
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 10:53 am 
Bosterson wrote:
the employees? (And if so, which? just the retail/business side? the 3rd party vendors across the world who literally create the materials and products?)
Yes, I meant the employees of Patagonia. Transferring value to workers all the way down the supply chain is a difficult negotiation with suppliers for all well-intentioned businesses, and Patagonia has done an above average job in that regard. The mention of employee control comes from my own bias and was a distracting aside from having a laugh about the certainty of the media coverage.
Bosterson wrote:
Functionally this seems no different from last week
Correct. Just planning for the future. A bit of media criticism is available around the use of the term "donate" and portrayal of this as a "new option." Some appropriate follow-up headlines would be: Chouinard Donates Control of Patagonia to Self, Pledges all Future Profits to Conservation and Political Activism Or in the parlance of today's internet: So You Think Estate Planning is Boring? Be Like Chouinard With This Increasingly Common Tax Arbitrage Method!

altasnob
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 12:27 pm 
I think the money is more important than control over what color next year's fleece will be. This climate crisis is just getting started and already devistating; sure there are other causes too and that's a game people can play no matter what causes somebody supports.

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Anne Elk
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 4:51 pm 
Route Loser wrote:
... when Chouinard decided, "there were no good options" for the future of the company, he seemingly forgot a transfer of some portion of control and/or value to the people who create the value.
As you said further down the thread, this is your bias, but Chouinard chose wisely given his intent for the use of the company profits, since there was no other way to guarantee the same outcome had he transferred control to employees. Given that they are treated well as it is, he owes them nothing else. Most people lack the drive and commitment of a successful business owner, and I'm sure the last thing Chouinard would want would be for Patagonia to eventually be sold off to a hedge fund or some such.

"There are yahoos out there. Itís why we canít have nice things." - Tom Mahood

graywolf, Cyclopath
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Route Loser
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 6:12 pm 
Anne Elk wrote:
Chouinard chose wisely given his intent
True. When one's bias escapes one's mouth, conversations tend to veer off in that direction. My interest in employee ownership aside, I am keenly interested in generational transfer of business ownership, as well as tax and financial literacy in journalism. The NY Times article regarding the stock transfer simply lacked context on these two topics. This is magnified into a seemingly unified media response when one is consuming online news, as most other contemporaneous articles will be near plagiarism of the Times. As usual, I needed only wait a day for right-slanted media to provide a balanced critique (and go far beyond that). I should have expected this given that environmentalism is involved. Chouinard's choice will stand as a better example than many of the common alternatives for generational transfer.

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Secret Agent Man
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 7:15 pm 
Some can snipe at Chouinard, and some of the critiques are probably legitimate, but is there any major outdoor company better? Unless someone is making their own outdoor clothes out of wool from the sheep they herd, we're all participating in a capitalist system, and the best we can do is reduce our harm. I can't sew my own jackets or smith my own ice axes so I have to buy stuff from somebody. Patagonia, both before and after this step, seem to be doing it better than any of the competition. Their products are pretty dang good too. Bravo, I say.

dave allyn, graywolf
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Randito
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 7:20 pm 
Hey if the NFL can organize as a non-profit, why not Patagonia?
Bloomberg wrote:
Holdfast is a 501(c)(4), a nonprofit that can make unlimited political donations
It will be interesting to see if any "drill baby drill" type politicians are disadvantaged by campaign contributions to their opponents.

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Snowshovel
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PostFri Sep 16, 2022 9:09 pm 
I think Chouinard thought that employee owned companies will always be in someoneís sights. Black Diamond is now part of Clarus

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Kim Brown
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PostSat Sep 17, 2022 9:56 am 
From the article: Hereís how it works: 100% of the companyís voting stock transfers to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the companyís 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. The funding will come from Patagonia: Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis. Holdfast Collective is a 501(c) 4 , which allows political contributions, unlike 501 (c) 3's, which cannot endorse politics. Both the Trust and the Collective have bylaws/Mission statements they're bound to, per IRS regs. Holdfast Collective is also a Certified B corporation. I have never heard of that, so googled it. It holds them to the standard of that designation; it's of no IRS or legal consequence, but if their certification is yanked, it would be something that would be noticed. The Trust and Holdfast should ensure the certification remains intact. It's like Charity Navigator, EnviroStar, or BBB, Dun & Bradstreet - not necessary but something to advertise and hold itself accountable. Interesting stuff.

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert
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