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Mel Badgett, 1% COO, Charles & Ali Banks of Cultivate, Dick Parsons of Il Palazzone, and Terry Kellogg, 1% CEO

As a beautiful May day drew to a close in Manhattan, 1% for the Planet hosted a wonderful event for its NYC area members, partners, and supporters.  The event highlighted delicious wines made by two of our member companies, Il Palazzone Vineyard and Cultivate Wines, and engaged the ninety folks in attendance with the inspiring stories behind those companies.

Dick Parsons, formerly CEO of Time Warner and Citigroup, has now moved on to greener, more satisfying pastures as owner of Il Palazzone Vineyard.  He spoke to the crowd about realizing that the seemingly inconsequential honeybees and butterflies were absolutely critical to pollination of the plants providing grapes for his wines. Giving back to the environment was a simple decision for him and he liked how he got to pick The Pesticide Action Network as a recipient.  1% for the Planet provided “a perfect marriage of the opportunity to put something back into the environment and a business story.”

Charles and Ali Banks, the founders of Cultivate Wines and previously the owners of Screaming Eagle wine, also told a compelling tale. After selling Screaming Eagle, they asked themselves: “What do we want to cultivate in our own life? What do we more of? The answer was more love, more joy, more celebration around the table, and we want more time with our friends and our family.  Isn’t that what everyone wants?  Out of that question, Cultivate was born.”  Charles said that at the core of Cultivate was a decision to give back to the world and make it a better place and that lead to the impressive decision to build a 10% of sales donation into the Cultivate business plan.

To paraphrase Charles Banks: “There is a whole new generation of businesses that have something more at their heart and soul than just a drive for profits.  And in the wine business, we talk about sustainability all the time – without all those bees and butterflies we aren’t sustainable, but we need to make a profit too, so the two concepts are intertwined.  1% for the Planet provides the bridge between the two worlds.  When Yvon Chouinard tells you that what you are doing is cool, there is nothing more amazing than that!”

In addition to these speakers, there were many representatives from the 1% network including folks from Harney and Sons Fine Teas, Make Things Matter, Juice Generation, Caudalie, Nature’s Equity, Scenic Hudson, Waterkeeper Alliance, La Matera, Green Bronx Machine, Flavorpill, Apartment Therapy Media, IOBY, and many other.

The wines were fabulous, the appetizers locally sourced, the setting was lovely with evening sunset streaming in, and the audience was abuzz with conversation and inspiration.

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