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The Hidden Downside for Democracy in the Patagonia Sale

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In making planet Earth Patagonia’s “only shareholder,” founder Yvon Chouinard has exchanged considerable personal fortune for substantial political power—an outcome that is good for environment, but could be detrimental for democracy, say experts of philanthropy and tax law.

There’s cause to celebrate but also, potentially, to worry about the “unorthodox arrangement” through which Chouinard and his family transferred their stake in the US$3-billion outdoor apparel company to two entities: the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective, says Inside Philanthropy senior editor Philip Rojc.

Chouinard’s intention to give lots of money—US$100 million annually, should Patagonia continue to thrive—to those “actively working on saving this planet” as he put it, is important, since the climate crisis is “pretty much the paramount global problem of our times,” says Rojc. And Patagonia’s environmental street cred is already strong, with the company supporting grassroots groups “rather than dumping money into big, corporate-friendly NGOs.”

Continue reading at Scheerpost.

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