The Patagonia Company And The Impact Of Corporate Environmentalism

Jacob Gosz, Reporter

The popular outdoor apparel brand Patagonia recently announced that 100% of their company, worth roughly three billion dollars, will be donated towards climate change efforts. This change comes after the 83-year-old environmental activist and CEO of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, came out publicly and announced his decision. Chouinard is a known rock climber, which is how he got his origins in Patagonia and his love for nature.

The move to sell the company is respected by many, as climate change efforts have recently become ever more widespread throughout the world. Currently, those in power and wealth are being asked by many to contribute some of their wealth to noble causes. This idea of capitalism and its contribution to the good of society is currently an ever so emerging topic in the United States as of 2022. 

By selling Patagonia, Chouinard is separating his company into a non-profit and a trust, which has been a brilliant way to pay less tax on his income. The non-profit organization’s name is the Holdfast Collective, which is more so a part of the internal revenue code 501(c)(4) and is responsible by the government to quote “promote social welfare”. Through this donation, Patagonia is pledging to donate its funds over the course of years, similar to a loan with how smaller portions will continue to be taken out of the company over a long period of time. 

Every time an influential company, whether it is Yvon Chouinard at Patagonia, Bill Gates at Microsoft, or Jeff Bezos at Amazon, has major influence over hundreds of thousands of people throughout not only the country but the world, consumers purchase more and more branded goods. resulting in those companies earning more and more profit and influence. 

How the public perceives a company and what the message they spread can widely proliferate to different populations and audiences in the U.S.. Capitalism is present throughout much of the United States and is very controversial. Regardless of personal opinion or political preferences, the environment is on both sides of the coin meaning it affects every individual that lives on planet Earth. 

Contributions publicly and financially should be made by large companies in support of charities and causes regarding not only climate change, but environmental issues as a whole. Those in charge of large companies are supposed to represent the most successful of humanity, and have hundreds of thousands of customers with massive influence through their products, but also their messages and goals. By setting an example and contributing to environmental charities, environmentalists owning large companies have the opportunity to pave the way for the future of how businesses can preserve and protect the environment. 

Although buying clothing that funding goes to supporting environmental efforts such as Patagonia helps, there are many other alternatives that do not involve finance. A leading climate change organization called the Climate Action Fund works towards climate action throughout the world and accepts donations to help support their movement. While climate change is a global issue, local activities such as recycling, cutting back on emissions, or reducing energy use are all useful methods to help combat climate change.