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VENTURA -Yvon Chouinard, the billionaire owner of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, has given away the company to a charitable trust which will inject any profits not reinvested in the business into fighting climate change.

The 83-year-old founded Patagonia in 1973. He said the new ownership structure would potentially see US$100m annually being given away to environmental causes.

The Chouinard family and existing executives will continue to run the business.

The Patagonia label has amassed a cult following due to its sustainability work. The company made global headlines for its famous advert titled “Don’t buy this jacket” asking shoppers to think about environmental issues. The irony of the campaign is that it was hugely successful in terms of raising the company’s profile and potential sales to a wider audience.

Patagonia’s website states: “Earth is now our only shareholder.”

Mr Chouinard, a rock climbing enthusiast, once went on record as stating that he “never wanted to be a businessman.”

Founded in 1973, Patagonia’s sales were worth around US$1.5bn this year. Chouinard’s net worth is thought to be US$1.2bn.

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