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Patagonia founder donates company to fight climate change

Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard’s decision to donate the $3 billion company to help fight climate change.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has announced he and his family are giving away ownerships in the apparel maker and dedicating all profits from the company to help fight climate change. Patagonia's new owners are environmental non-profit, the Hold Fast Collective, and the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created by Patagonia in efforts to protect the company's values. And I think I got the name wrong, Julie but--

JULIE HYMAN: Listen.

BRIAN SOZZI: --I did my best.

JULIE HYMAN: I meant to give you the French--

BRIAN SOZZI: I know.

JULIE HYMAN: --the French pronouncement--

BRIAN SOZZI: Go for it. I want to hear it. I want to hear it. I want to hear it.

JULIE HYMAN: Yvon Chouinard.

BRIAN SOZZI: I like that.

BRAD SMITH: Ooh.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah.

BRIAN SOZZI: You're good at that French. That's very cool. But look, this sets the new standard here. The standard coming up to this point, I would argue, is the Giving Pledge. We saw a lot of billionaires and a lot of wealthy folks sign that Giving Pledge-- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, you name it. But this is just absolutely amazing. You know what? Just really, really good to see.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, and the key details around this is how and over the course of what time, too. They're expecting to generate and looking to about this figure of $100 million annually that would be donated to some of the causes to fight climate change as well. So this is kind of a long-term proposal and a long-term commitment.

But then additionally, it's just using some of the shares that they already had and being able to be noncommittal, or at least, they had updated their website to say we're not committed to any shareholders at this point in time. It's really just about making sure that we're using these profits, putting it towards more sustainable pledges.

JULIE HYMAN: This is perfectly in keeping with Chouinard's vision for the company with what Patagonia has done over the past decade, right? One of the first retailers to close on Election Day to allow its employees to go and vote. It has consistently given money to environmental causes. It is certified as a B Corporation.

And what's so interesting to me about the Patagonia vision as well is, I was at an event on Monday, a retail CEO influencer event that kind of focused on Gen Z. And I spoke to some Gen Zers on the panel, many of whom sort of participate in the circular economy, if you will, renting clothes or buying vintage, et cetera. But they sort of agreed that mass price still trumps sustainability.

Now, the Patagonia customer is probably not necessarily Gen Z's who have their first jobs, right, not unless they're still getting money from Mom and Dad. But nonetheless, it's still interesting to think about that balance between luxury, sustainability. How do we get more retailers maybe to push toward that kind of outcome?

BRIAN SOZZI: Well, you know what else they're known for? That bro Wall Street vest. I know our very own--

JULIE HYMAN: Which--

BRIAN SOZZI: --Mules Udland loves rocking the bro Patagonia vest.

JULIE HYMAN: Which Chouinard has been on record saying he is not terribly pleased about. He wants people to use the clothing to go out and climb mountains.

BRIAN SOZZI: It's still a look. I was at the Goldman conference. The bro vest was out.

JULIE HYMAN: Oh, it's still a look.

BRIAN SOZZI: Oh, it is out, Julie.

JULIE HYMAN: Oh, I know. I believe you.

BRIAN SOZZI: How do you say the name, one more time?

JULIE HYMAN: Chouinard.

BRIAN SOZZI: OK, thank you.

BRAD SMITH: Well, it's a question of whether some of the other companies that are delving headfirst into the hiking category will be as committal to some of the environmental pledges. On Running is getting more into hiking. We know that Lululemon is trying to get more into the hiking category as well. So Patagonia really kind of starting what perhaps could be a trend among some of those other companies, not just in the recyclability of some of their inventory in their clothing and apparel, but also in the pledges that they're putting forward, too.