Patagonia Founder yvon chouinardHis wife and their two adult children have transferred their ownership of the outerwear company to a group of trusts and non-profit organizations.
From now on, the corporation’s profits will fund efforts to combat climate change, as well as to protect wilderness areas. However, it will remain a privately held enterprise. According to preliminary reports about this unusual approach to philanthropy, which ran on September 15, 2022, Patagonia is worth approximately US$3 billion and its profits that will be donated to perpetuity may total $100 million every year,
The Conversation America asked Indiana University ash enrikis – a scholar who studies how philanthropy affects the environment – to explain why this arrangement is so important.
1. Is this move part of a trend?
The biggest donors who are donating billions of dollars are Prioritizing rapid climate change, For example, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced in 2020 that he was putting $10 billion in their Earth FundAnd lauren powell jobsThe widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in 2021 that she would devote $3.5 billion of her fortune to fighting climate change.
Similarly, large donors are increasing their funding for conservation efforts.
In September 2021, the Earth Fund joined with eight other philanthropic forces to pledge $5 billion To “support the creation, expansion, management and monitoring of protected and protected areas of land, inland waters and seas” around the world. The aim of this initiative is to conserve 30% of the Earth by 2030,
Within days of Chouinard’s announcement, another spectacular climate gift emerged, setting a similar precedent. film producer Adam McKay Says He Will Donate $4 Million He made from the film “Don’t Look Up”, which he wrote, co-produced and directed. Proceeds from his satirical film, which was a metaphor about climate inaction, will fund a climate activism group.
No matter how often these donations occur, it is important to note that the cost of Meeting the world’s environmental challenges is too big and will cost trillions of dollars, So while all these gifts are certainly significant in their scale, donors and governments will need to do and spend much more.
2. What makes it special?
What’s unusual about Chouinard’s climate-change gift is its structure. By abandoning his company and directing the profits to be spent to fight climate change over the long term in regular installments, he is creating a new model for large-scale charity.
It also sets a remarkable example. Chouinard and his family are giving their source of funding and setting things up in a way that results in support for work on climate issues—an estimated $100 million each year from Patagonia’s profits.
I think this is a great example for other business owners and very wealthy people to follow.
3. How are conservation and climate change efforts linked?
Journalists, scholars and the public often regard addressing climate change and ecosystem conservation as two separate priorities. But they are rather closely related. keep Ecosystems thrive in a way that protects biodiversity there is a way slowing the pace of climate change,
Climate change itself will damage ecosystems and contribute to the loss of biodiversity, for example, raising the temperature in large bodies of water To the point where established marine ecosystems become so disrupted that many species die out.
And the flip side of this is that maintaining healthy ecosystems can help combat climate change. For example, Mangroves are often cut down for shrimp farming. and other industries. but protect them provides the ability to retain more, or more, as carbon as tropical rain forests, while also animal and plant protection On land and in water.
4. What do you think this money should fund?
For Me, How They – Newly Made Patagonia Purpose Trustwho will own and run the company, and holdfast collectiveNonprofits funded by Patagonia’s profits – operations will be just as important as the funds they fund.
based on the research I’m engaged in, I believe they can do much better by considering the way they work, hopefully both equitable and effective. For example, they may consider highly collaborative approach, include the flexibility to adapt to conditions and long-term funding to match ecological time-frames. It is also necessary that Indigenous people living in affected places There is a saying and being heard by Environmental Work.
Government and international aid agencies are also often bureaucratic constrained To be able to adapt and adjust their practices in such a way that urgent environmental challenges need to be addressed.
philanthropists are more independent In terms of how they work. This means that funders such as Patagonia’s Trust can provide seed money to launch new initiatives. The latter may be funded more heavily and extended by governments.
5. Why are so many people bothered by such gifts?
In recent years, philanthropy investigation There has been all kinds of growth. Some of the criticism targets big donors like Bezos, whose sources Money contributes to problems Their gifts must be sorted.
There are even enthusiastic environmentalists express deep concern About the possible downsides of this new model. They are asking if it can be used to fund causes championed by other wealthy donors. totally different agenda,
What concerns you about what the Chouinard family decided to do, or what other billions of dollars donated to climate change purposes, one thing is certain: the cost of doing nothing There will certainly be much more to do than take action, though imperfectly.
Ash Enrici’s research was supported by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill is funded by Philanthropy.