Ventura-Based Patagonia Goes Out on a Limb With Climate Advocacy
At 81, founder Yvon Chouinard is more passionate about sustainability than ever.
California, outdoor retailer Patagonia and its founder Yvon Chouinard have spent decades and millions of dollars fighting environmental problems and evolving its business model to be more sustainable. As part of the B Corporation movement, the company has raised more than $225 million since 2002 for causes it supports. In addition to bringing regenerative principles to its cotton supply chain, Patagonia committed to being fossil-fuel-free by 2025. Chouinard sat down with Fast Company to discuss how his billion-dollar company approaches sustainability, healthy business practices and shifts in capitalism.
“You’ve got to reinvent capitalism altogether. It leads to a whole bunch of poor people and a few extremely rich people. Ultimately, capitalism is going to lose its customers. There won’t be anybody to buy the product because everybody is going to be so poor. The whole thing is going to crash before the next election, probably. We’re going to get another huge recession, and everybody’s going to lose out on their stocks. There we go again. It’s a system that’s got to change. The whole stock thing is dependent on growth. Look at Amazon. Amazon doesn’t make a profit. They don’t pay any taxes. Nothing. But they’re growing like crazy. It’s all growth, growth, growth—and that’s what’s destroying the planet. I’m dealing with that myself. We’re a billion-dollar company, over a billion, and I don’t want a billion-dollar company. The day they announced it to me, I hung my head and said, ‘Oh God, I knew it would come to this.’ I’m trying to figure out how to make Patagonia act like a small company again.”
You can read Chouinard’s full interview here.