Going purpose

Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia has just announced that he is giving the full stakes in the company to trust entities that are committed to addressing climate change challenges. The company is valued at about $3 billion according to New York Times but I imagine the value that it is going to have in terms of making a difference for the world will be way more than that.

Instead of “going public,” you could say we’re “going purpose.” 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.

Yvon Chouinard

Patagonia has always been leading the way in terms of its focus on sustainability and profit for a purpose. To a large extent we need to recognise that Earth and our existence on it is not just the source of all wealth but also all the income stream and values we can generate. It thus serve also as the greatest possible investment we can make in our lifetimes for both our own and our descendants’ future.

The continued fragmentation of the world, driven both by political interests, the self-interest driven nature of capitalism, and the sheer inability to coordinate climate action beyond lip service is frustrating. But Patagonia gives us a clear example of how meaningful drastic actions can be taken that flips the switch on our incentives.

And aligns us to the better angels of our nature.