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The Founder Of Patagonia Just Became The Best Billionaire By Giving Away His Entire Company So It Could Combat Climate Change

There are lots of hissable billionaires these days. Some of them keep going to space because they’re not sure what to do with the purely abstract amount of money they have. But not all billionaires are bad. Take Yvon Chouinard. He owns Patagonia, the wildly successful maker of outdoor apparel, and he and his family just gave away their entire company’s vast fortune to organizations that will combat climate change.

As per The New York Times, Chouinard, his wife, and two adult children have transferred ownership of the company, which is worth some $3 billion, to a set of trusts and organizations that were created to ensure its future profits — all of it, some $100 million a year — are used to battle climate change.

“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” Chouinard told NYT. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”

Patagonia, which sells more than $1 billion of product a year, has always had an environmental bent, the result of its owner, an avid rock climber, fisherman, and all-around outdoors type who clearly cares about the future of the planet. Now 83, he’s now giving away the bulk of his assets in his lifetime. By contrast, most billionaires only give a tiny fraction of their net worth away to charities. Some don’t even pay taxes.

Then again, Chouinard is what you could call a reluctant billionaire. “I was in Forbes magazine listed as a billionaire, which really, really pissed me off,” he told NYT. “I don’t have $1 billion in the bank. I don’t drive Lexuses.”

He’s reluctant in other ways, too. “I didn’t know what to do with the company because I didn’t ever want a company,” he said. “I didn’t want to be a businessman. Now I could die tomorrow and the company is going to continue doing the right thing for the next 50 years, and I don’t have to be around.”

The unprecedented move got a lot of love on social media, though it also inspired some inevitable jokes.

While Chouinard is using his unimaginable wealth to pay it forward, Elon Musk is being roasted by William Shatner while worrying more about his estranged partner’s ears.

(Via NYT)