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Doing more with less, former billionare, Yvon Chouinard

by: Sabrina Clarke

· Sustainability
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“I was in Forbes magazine listed as a billionaire, which really, really pissed me off,” Yvon Chouinard, Founder, Patagon

The remarks from Chouinard aren’t what we usually see. Typically, well-crafted messages on company pages, LinkedIn or social media about “delight” and “honour” combined with a personal story of resilience. That is the playbook. However, Chouinard has written his own playbook from the beginning.

In 2023, when Patagonia took over the news and business cycle with a singular act of the Chouinard family giving away their ownership shares to a trust to be managed by a Foundation while being profitable, it was radical. I was impressed then but looked forward to now.

What does a former billionaire do with their time when they give away their money to save the planet?

In the case of Chouinard, more with less.

When Chouinard pulled a social immobility, Patagonia became the most reputable brand in the US. Chouinard maintained his “Don of the Dirtbag” status.

Chouinard spends his time quietly (visiting and working in the blacksmith shed vital to Patagonia’s growth, which is now a historical site) and impactfully (to date, Patagonia has raised $71 million for wildlife restoration and democratic groups). Chouinard is fascinated with building houses made of straw and is only in the media when he wants to be.

Chouinard’s legacy will be the impact he made while he was here.