top of page

"We can save our planet if we commit to it" | Purposeful Connections

Sharp perspectives. Deep expertise. Cutting-edge innovations. Purposeful Connections is your bi-weekly source for the latest in purpose and ESG. Subscribe here.

"Despite its immensity, the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and it’s clear we’ve exceeded its limits. But it’s also resilient. We can save our planet if we commit to it."

Once again, Patagonia and its founder, Yvon Chouinard, have set a new standard for responsible capitalism. By creating the Patagonia Purpose Trust, Yvon has given up personal wealth with the hope that the little climbing business he founded nearly 50 years ago will "do its part" to save planet Earth. Beyond shielding the company from ever being sold or going public, this decision doesn't change much about how Patagonia operates--it is truly a stake in the ground for responsible capitalism and equitable wealth generation. Patagonia has built itself into a thriving company because it has always done the right thing, and I can only hope that other business leaders see the tremendous value that lies in putting all stakeholders--including planet Earth--before profit.

Meet Patagonia's new shareholder: Planet Earth. Yes, Founder Yvon Chouinard has "given away" the company he founded. In a stunning announcement made last week, Chouinard and Patagonia announced that 100% of the company's voting stock will transfer to The Purpose Trust, and 100% of non-voting stock will go to the Holdfast Collective, an environmental nonprofit. Why? In Yvon's words, "Instead of going public, we're going 'purpose'." Patagonia Chairman Charles Conn put it this way: "We realized that the biggest impact of Yvon and Patagonia wasn’t the money they had given away up to today, but the creation of an iconoclastic company that could act as an example to other companies about an alternative path. If we sold the business to give even a vast amount away, but the business then became like any other, we would have destroyed the lighthouse for doing capitalism differently.”

As a company born "in the heart of wildfire country," Coors Banquet is taking its roots seriously amid prolonged and increasingly devastating fire seasons. The brewer's Protect Our Protectors campaign highlights the company's long-running support for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which Coors has donated more than $2M to since 2014. The US is entering its peak wildfire season, at a time when some fire-prone regions are experiencing severe staffing shortages. Proceeds from special-edition stubby bottles, as well as a capsule collection with clothing company Brixton, will support the effort.

Every year, JUST Capital asks the American public to identify what issues matter most when it comes to just business behavior. Despite rhetoric that the country is incredibly polarized, across every demographic group surveyed – whether political affiliation, race, gender, age, or income group – Americans are united in wanting companies to prioritize workers as the most important stakeholder, and pay a fair, living wage today. In fact, paying a living wage doubled in priority over the last two years, and four of the top six priorities of the public are five worker issues regarding wages, health, training, and benefits, reinforcing how critical these issues have become in the minds of American workers and consumers.

Corporate commitments among the G7 currently align with a 2.7C degree global temperature rise by 2100. That's bad news, considering the target is 1.5C, and scientists warn that just 2 degrees of warming can have catastrophic effects. Globally, companies in Canada, the US, and Japan are furthest behind on climate action, while German and Italian companies have the most aggressive plans. According to a UN report, greenhouse gas emission pledges need to be at least 7 times higher to achieve the 1.5C goal.

Listen to the latest episode of Purpose 360 Podcast here.


bottom of page