It was news that caused astonishment and admiration in the sports community: In September of this year, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, announced that from now on, all of the sportswear manufacturer's profits would be used to protect the environment.
With some decisions by individuals, you know immediately that in retrospect they would be perceived as turning points for an industry. Yvon Chouinard's decision to transfer Patagonia, a company estimated to be worth three billion dollars, into the ownership of a trust and to use its distributions for environmental protection was such a moment.
In agreement with his family, Yvon Chouinard has decided to transfer 100% of his company shares to a foundation whose mission is to ensure respect for the values of Patagonia's founder. In addition, the company's profits will now be donated to a non-governmental organization that works to protect the environment. Each year, the entire profit is distributed as a dividend to the Holdfast Collective to help fight the environmental crisis. Chouinard himself summed up his action by saying, "The Earth is our only shareholder as of now."
The outdoor community has always been at the forefront of sustainability - and Chouinard has always been a driver of this issue. As early as 1985, he decided to dedicate one percent of profits to the environment. Likewise, he favored organic cotton and recycled polyester as early as the early 1990s. But with this decision, he broke through the standards he had set himself and donated his company to serve society - no more, no less.
ISPO honors the company with the ISPO Cup for this decision and the tireless commitment that has prevailed for decades. At the end of the first day of ISPO Munich 2022, Tobias Gröber, Head of the ISPO Group, presented the Cup to Glen Morden, Vice President at Patagonia, on the Main Stage of the Future Lab.
CEO Ryan Gellert, who could not be in Munich, delivered a video message. He said he was deeply honored that the work and purpose Patagonia has been pursuing for over 50 years is now being appreciated in this way. Since its inception, Patagonia has tried to do as much as it can for the planet: Starting with sustainable circular economy, the production of sustainable products to the initiative "1% for the planet". So now 100% of sales are to go towards preserving and saving the planet. "Donating to nature and the planet" is the overarching goal. 100 million U.S. dollars will probably be the initial figure. Gellert hopes that many other companies will follow Patagonia's example.
Patagonia also received high praise for its pioneering role from Walter Link, CEO of NOW Partners. NOW Partners is an accelerator that works with companies around the world and supports them in pursuing innovations and business models in line with regenerative value creation. Here, Walter Link emphasized that it is not enough for just a few companies to join in, but that the entire industry needs to become more sustainable. Patagonia, he said, is a perfect example of how sustainability and values can be combined with a successful business model. The entire industry and economy needs to be built on these values, he said. As a gesture of recognition, NOW Partners will in the future donate to each ISPO Cup winner 100 trees, which will subsequently be planted. Patagonia starts with the first 100 trees in Egypt.
In keeping with the winner, the ISPO Cup was presented in a new setting this year. Previously, the ISPO Cup was awarded during a glamorous VIP dinner with selected guests - most recently at ISPO Munich 2020. But in our changed world, which shows us every day the need for openness and shared solutions, this setting no longer seemed appropriate.
From now on, we are awarding the newly conceptualized ISPO Cup at an open event in the Future Lab - the experiential space at ISPO Munich 2022 for everyone looking for inspiration and developing solutions to accelerate the development potential of the sports industry. The cup was presented by Alexander "Sascha" Zverev and his brother Mischa on the first day of the trade show.