It’s Not Just About Yvon
How we can get every company to be more like Patagonia
This week, The Instigator is coming to you live from the conclusion of Climate Week in New York City. We’ve spent an action-packed few days encouraging corporate leaders to prioritize decarbonization, pushing investors to take longer views and make bigger bets to support bold climate strategies, urging political representatives to get more ambitious on policy, and brainstorming with fellow environmentalists about how best to accelerate progress. We’ll have a lot more to say about this in a future issue.
But in the meantime, we wanted to highlight the inspiring news we’re pretty sure you did not miss. In case you’ve been living under a rock (or climbing to the top of one) Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard announced he is giving away the company and making the earth its sole shareholder. Going forward, 100% of Patagonia's profits will be donated to nonprofits focused on protecting the planet.
For the rest of us non-rock dwellers, this is already old, albeit remarkable, news. The media has had a field day (pun intended) analyzing why he did it, how he structured it, who benefits, etc.
But there is one point that I think deserves more attention — the role of Patagonia's present and future customers. In other words, you.
If consumers ever wanted to prove that they will reward good companies for good behavior, this is as good as it gets. Again, 100% of profits will benefit the earth.
To put it bluntly, all climate concerned customers should shift 100% of their outdoor wear and equipment purchases to Patagonia. No offense to Patagonia's competitors, but they are just not as aligned with us enviros (at least not yet — let's see what they can do). For now, let's vote with our wallets.
Imagine if we did this en masse. Everyone — not just Patagonia's competition — would receive a clear signal that customers not only say they care, but also act that way. I don't expect others to follow Yvon's grandiose example all the way. For starters, you can only do that if you own 100% of the company. But it might just inspire a race to demonstrate true climate-aligned behavior like we've never seen before. Game on.
Please direct your sales to Patagonia. Let’s see what ensues.