Billionaire Lululemon Founder Donates $75 Million to Help Protect Wilderness

Billionaire Lululemon Founder Donates $75 Million to Help Protect Wilderness
Shoppers form a line outside of Lululemon at International Plaza in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 26, 2021. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
Lorenz Duchamps

Chip Wilson, the billionaire founder of multinational athletic apparel retailer Lululemon Inc., is gifting more than $75 million—the biggest private donation in Canadian conservation history—to help protect, enhance, and sustain British Columbia's natural spaces.

Wilson and his wife, Summer, announced the donation at an event held in Vancouver's Stanley Park on Sept. 15, noting that the charity will be made through the Wilson 5 Foundation, a philanthropic family foundation.

The money will go toward a campaign launched by BC Parks Foundation in 2018 and will directly contribute to Canada's effort to reach its international commitment to protect 25 percent of land and sea by 2025.

"It's our hope that this gift will mark a major step change in BC's efforts to protect its incredible natural wealth," Wilson said in a news release.

"This donation supports our family's charitable focus, and we hope that it will inspire additional donations from British Columbians and friends from around the world to the BC Parks Foundation, joining them in pursuit to ensure that BC has the greatest parks system on earth," he added.

According to Forbes estimates, Wilson is worth $5.7 billion, most of which comes from his stake in Lululemon Athletica Inc.

Wilson's funds will be put to use right away in at least three ecosystems, including the Falling Creek Sanctuary—a 528-acre space in the northeastern part of the province that is particularly important as an overwintering habitat for moose, caribou, deer, and other ungulates coming down from the nearby mountains.

"British Columbians love our incredible parks, and have worked together to make great things happen in the last few years," said Ross Beaty, a geologist who also serves as a chair member of the foundation. "The Wilson's landmark donation is an incredible show of support and boost for the protection and enjoyment of nature in BC."

Wilson's announcement comes a day after billionaire founder of outdoor fashion retailer Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, 83, said he's given the entire company away in an effort to help combat climate change, costing him his billionaire status.
The businessman stated that ownership of the company has been transferred to a trust, the Patagonia Purpose Trust, designed to protect the company’s values, as well as a nonprofit organization, the Holdfast Collective.

Lululemon Lifts Annual Forecasts

This year, Lululemon raised its annual profit and revenue forecasts to above analysts' estimates as affluent customers snap up its new belt bags, golf, and tennis clothing, sending its shares up 10 percent in extended trade.

Higher-income consumers have largely shrugged off the impact of inflation to spend on discretionary goods, including apparel and bags, buoyed by their savings during COVID-19 lockdowns.

A woman walks past a Lululemon Athletica store in Miami, Fla., on Dec. 10, 2013. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A woman walks past a Lululemon Athletica store in Miami, Fla., on Dec. 10, 2013. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There has been no meaningful shift in customers' spending behavior, Lululemon's top boss Calvin McDonald said on the earnings call.

"Lululemon remains predominantly a full-price business, and we have not changed our promotional cadence or markdown strategy and we have no plans to do so," McDonald said.

The company raised its earnings and revenue forecast for 2022 to above market estimates.

It lifted the adjusted per-share earnings outlook to between $9.75 and $9.90 from $9.35 to $9.50, and increased its net revenue forecast to between $7.87 billion and $7.94 billion from $7.61 billion to $7.71 billion.

Second-quarter net revenue rose 29 percent, to $1.87 billion, beating estimates of $1.77 billion.

Adjusted per-share earnings of $2.20 also topped estimates of $1.87, according to Refinitiv data.

Reuters contributed to this report.
Lorenz Duchamps is a news writer for NTD, The Epoch Times’ sister media, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and entertainment news.