There’s one brand that’s admired across different parts of this company: Patagonia. It’s known for being one of the best corporate citizens out there, giving 1 per cent of its sales to environmental causes since 1985 (having awarded US$150 million to date).
Earlier this year, founder Yvon Chouinard, his wife and two adult children transferred their ownership of Patagonia, worth US$3 milliard, to a trust and non-profit organization, effectively giving away the company.
Their voting stock, 2 per cent of the overall shares, has gone into the Patagonia Purpose Trust, with the purpose of ensuring Patagonia remains a socially responsible business and gives away its profits.
This year, it expects to give away Patagonia’s profits of US$100 million to the non-profit, the Holdfast Collective, to fight the climate crisis.
Chouinard had always been uncomfortable being listed as a ‘billionaire’ by Forbes and has made sure that the transfer is irrevocable.
On December 5, Chouinard, 83, will be honoured at the British Fashion Council’s Fashion Awards with the Outstanding Achievement Award.
He said in a release, ‘We are 50 years into our experiment in responsible business, and we’re dead serious about addressing the environmental crisis. We started by building durable, quality products and using materials that caused less harm to the environment and to the people who made them. We’ve been using 100 per cent organic cotton across our line since 1996, are founding members of groups such as the Fair Labor Association and Regenerative Organic Alliance, and today offer more Fair Trade-certified sewn styles than any other apparel brand.
‘Being recognized by the British Fashion Council sends the message that responsible business practices far outweigh trends or short-term financial gains. With vision and creativity, the apparel industry is perfectly placed to set the standard for environmental protection—it is our hope that business leaders join us in committing to this work.’
British Fashion Council CEO Caroline Rush said, ‘We are thrilled to present Yvon Chouinard with the Outstanding Achievement Award for his visionary work at Patagonia. Through his dedication to our planet, Yvon has set a new precedent for responsible businesses. By building a brand that consistently encourages its consumers to buy well and buy less he has shifted consumer mentality on the life cycle of clothing and created an invaluable blueprint for a fair transition within the apparel industry.’
This year’s awards are sponsored by Diet Coke, raising funds for the BFC Foundation. Getty Images, Malfy Gin, Moët & Chandon, Royal Salute and the Londoner are also supporters. General public tickets are available at fashionawards.com/Tickets.