Media Tip Sheet: Patagonia Owner Gives Away Company to Fight Climate Change

September 16, 2022

“Rather than selling the company or taking it public, Mr. Chouinard, his wife and two adult children have transferred their ownership of Patagonia, valued at about $3 billion, to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization. They were created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits — some $100 million a year — are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.” (Via The New York Times)

If you would like more context on the matter, please consider John Forrer, the director of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility at the GW School of Business. He is also an associate research professor of strategic management & public policy at GW and a team member at GW's Climate and Health Institute.

Forrer’s areas of expertise include corporate social responsibility, globalization and global governance, and business and peace.

"There is a long-standing tension about the extent to which corporate profits are owed to shareholders or may be spent for the general public benefit. Patagonia has settled the debate by making 'the environment' the shareholder," Forrer says. "It means that CSR and ESG issues addressing climate change are no longer secondary to shareholder interests--they are the shareholders sole interests."

If you would like to speak with Professor Forrer, please contact GW Media Relations Specialist Cate Douglass at [email protected].