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Why we're in awe of Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard

It's an often-used aphorism that 'today's news is tomorrow's fish and chips', and never has that idea of transience been more apparent than in today's news cycle. But we wanted to pump the brakes a minute to acknowledge a pretty amazing piece of news that came out about Patagonia yesterday. For those that have been following Unyoked since our inception, you'll know that this company has always been one of our northern stars when it comes to sticking the principles and living the values your brand espouses. But even we were blown away by this week's announcement from founder Yvon Chouinard that he would be giving away his family's ownership of the company and donating profits to fight climate change. Not only that, but he actively avoided tax loopholes that may have seen him benefit financially from this decision, as it has so many other billionaires. 

As a company that exists purely to help people realise the benefits of nature, we know that climate change is no joke. We've been around for just over 5 years and have already seen more freak weather events than many in our parents' generation have experienced in their lifetimes. But it often seems that even though awareness and angst around the state of the planet is intensifying, most of the action being taken, particularly at a corporate level, can be summarised as lip service. You can probably reel off companies promising to carbon offset their travel, or plant a tree for every bank account you open. Real, significant change, however, means moving beyond tokenism. It means standing up for what you believe in, even if it costs you professionally or personally. 

In Yvon Chouinard, we finally see an exemplar of someone who has done both; walking away from the company he loves and the unbelievable windfall it continues to bring him each year in order to better the chances of the natural world he loves actually surviving. He joins a very small cohort that includes the likes of Greta Thunberg and James Lovelock, stand-up environmentalists who will ultimately be remembered not just for what they said, but what they did. 


If you want to remember what Yvon is so steadfastly passionate about, we've got close to 75 locations across three countries that will help jog your memory, including new spots in NZ and the UK.