Yvon Chouinard is founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc., based in Ventura, California. He began in business by designing, manufacturing, and distributing rock-climbing equipment in the late 1950s.
In the late 1980s, Patagonia’s success was such that Chouinard considered early retirement. However, he decided to continue directing Patagonia’s course, in part to use the company to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. As part of this goal, Patagonia instituted an Earth Tax, pledging 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. In 2001, Chouinard, along with fly fisherman Craig Mathews, started 1% for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute at least 1% of their net annual sales to groups on a list of researched and approved environmental organizations.
Chouinard spends much of his time in the outdoors and continues to help guide Patagonia Works.