Charles Conn, Board Chair of Patagonia, on the company’s past and future
December 15, 2022 · 47 min
This week, Charles Conn, Chair of the Board of Directors at Patagonia joins us to share his story of how the company made the landmark decision to “make Earth its only shareholder.” This was news not just in the apparel industry, but everywhere. Patagonia had been private its entire existence, and as its founder Yvon Chouinard looked to step away, he opted for something entirely unique: give all the company to a 501(c)(4) and a perpetual purpose trust designed to put the profits to work exclusively for the planet.
The market is still digesting this move: will it signal a new path for purpose-driven companies? Will it alter the course of late-stage capitalism? Charles Conn had an insider’s view on the process of coming to the decision to embrace this unique model, and continues to be actively involved in bringing it to fruition.
Patagonia is an apparel company, too, so we talk about how they approach sustainability, from measuring their emissions throughout their supply chain, sourcing all their textiles and materials, and participating in resale and circularity.
And finally, Yvon Chouinard was recently given the outstanding achievement award at the British Fashion Awards, and Charles was there to accept it on his behalf. So, we had to ask what he wore.
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Charles Conn in Fortune Magazine on Patagonia’s evolution
WWD on Patagonia’s transformation
Inc. naming Patagonia company of the year
WWD on Yvon Chouinard receiving the outstanding achievement award at the Fashion Awards in London
Full transcript of this podcast here
Hot Buttons is a production of Post Script Media. The show is hosted by Christina Binkley, Rachel Kibbe, and Shilla Kim-Parker. Follow the show on Twitter.
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