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Earth Day Should Be Every Day: Why We Give through 1% for the Planet

2012-07-20-12.10.44

On this Earth Day, we were pleased to announce that our annual 1% for the Planet donation would go to San Francisco Baykeeper for the fourth year in a row. This scrappy organization keeps impressing us by making an outsized impact on a lean budget, using science, advocacy, policy and the law to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay.

This year, Baykeeper is celebrating 25 years in action—we attended their anniversary party at the Maritime Museum on May 15. Examples of recent successes are helping to scuttle proposals for coal facilities at the Port of Oakland, getting a ship servicing company in Alameda to agree to install controls that will prevent toxins from running into the bay, and a lawsuit to stop excessive sand mining in the bay. You can learn more about their achievements here.

Baykeeper’s impact was just one of our criteria for our 1% donation. We wanted to support an organization that affects policy and challenges the status quo. Baykeeper is relatively small, so our donation truly makes a difference to the organization. It’s local—we want to support our community. And San Francisco Bay is not only an icon, it’s also a critical element in the region’s vitality that affects business health and quality of life.

And why do we give through 1% for the Planet? (Glad you asked!)

We’ve loved 1% for the Planet from the moment we heard about it. When we joined in 2010, we knew we wanted to give to environmental organizations, and the chance to join a movement at the same time was irresistible. It’s been extremely satisfying to watch the growth of this global alliance of businesses that give one percent of their annual revenue to environmental nonprofits. When we joined, giving totaled just over $50 million; now it’s surpassed $100 million. More than 1,200 member companies have given to more than 3,300 nonprofits.

Most important, being a member holds us to our commitment. The yearly certification requirement (members have to submit tax documents and proof of donations) ensures that we act on our good intentions.

It allows us to make the public statement, along with fellow members, that businesses should make a contribution to preserving and restoring the resources that contribute to their success. And it shows they can afford to do so—regardless of their size.

Naturally, we also think we get a marketing boost from showing off the blue 1% globe. We hope it gives us a slight edge with prospective clients in our sustainability-focused target market, and we know it makes clients feel that much better about working with us and attracts creative, passionate people to work for us.

Honestly, though, our greatest hope is that so many other businesses join the 1% alliance that the logo ceases to be a differentiator. That would mean we’re making real progress on achieving the old 1% for the Planet call to action: “Keep earth in business.”

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