Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is giving the $4.4 billion company to a non-profit environmental group. 

“Each year, the money we make after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis,” Mr Chouinard wrote in an open letter this week.

“Instead of ‘going public’, you could say we're ‘going purpose’.

“Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we'll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth.”

Since 1985, Patagonia has dedicated 1 per cent of its total yearly sales to fighting climate change

But now, a not-for-profit called the Holdfast Collective, which fights climate change, will control 98 per cent of Patagonia, including all non-voting shares. 

The Chouinard family says they will guide the trust and will continue to sit on Patagonia's board.

In 2019, the company announced it would be carbon neutral by 2025 and has stopped putting their trademark permanent branding on products because, “adding an additional non-removable logo reduces the life span of a garment, often by a lot, for trivial reasons”.

The New York Times says the structure of the Patagonia founder's action means he and his family will get no financial benefit, but will actually face a tax bill from the donation.