Patagonia will now be run by a nonprofit foundation. The shift generated a lot of headlines, but outside of the U.S. this form of ownership is not new. “Shareholder foundations” have quietly prospered for decades in continental Europe, particularly in Denmark where a quarter of the largest 100 firms are foundation-owned, including the three largest firms in the country: Carlsberg, Maersk, and Novo Nordisk. The authors’ analysis of these firms suggests they can succeed as businesses, and that the arrangement helps simplify some of the tradeoffs that for-profit companies typically face when considering social responsibility.
GAUTIER, A. et BOTHELLO, J. (2022). What happens when a company (like Patagonia) transfers ownership to a nonprofit? Harvard Business Review.