I am excited to introduce two new businesses to our network, both of which design high quality products that are quite marvelous.
The first company, ReFleece, was started by two past Patagonia employees, Sam and Jennifer. While at Patagonia, Sam helped to design their first surfboard, while Jennifer folded fleece and simultaneously began her own alternative energy focused non-profit! Together, these two joined together to start ReFleece: a new eco-design company from Arlington, Massachusetts. Refleece has partnered with Patagonia to up-cycle old fleece that has been returned to Patagonia stores through their Common Threads Initiative. ReFleece uses this recycled fleece to make cases for your iPads and Kindles. These cases are extremely lightweight, water resistant, and stylish enough for the boardroom while being rugged enough for a backpack.
While Sam and Jennifer have moved on from working at Patagonia, they have always been huge fans of both Patagonia and 1% for the Planet. What better way to support both groups than to recycle used Patagonia materials and join 1% FTP! ReFleece, we are thrilled to have you… and glad that you have helped increase our New England membership!
Our second newest member is Irikonji Dive Gear, based in Pompano Beach, Florida. As scuba divers and conservationists, the big reason the owners of Irikonji jump into the water is to get a firsthand look at the incredible marine life that our oceans support. They are always looking for ways to help protect this marine life, as well as just have more fun while in the water. Irikonji Dive Shorts help do both of those things. While wearing Irikonji Dive Shorts, your gear is stored securely until you need it, so you don’t need to worry about running out of pockets to carry your gear, leave any important equipment behind, or have gear dangling off of you that could damage or disturb the marine environment in any way.
The owners of Irikonji wanted to join 1% for the Planet because it is a way of galvanizing their commitment to protect the oceans and all of the life they support. They’re very excited to be a part of the 1% community and look forward to cultivating some great relationships with fellow 1% members.
Yesterday wrapped up a few weeks worth of organizing for a webinar hosted by B Lab and 1% for the Planet. The webinar was intended to provide insight on how to best design strategic philanthropy practices. The call featured speakers from both organizations as well as four businesses that made the decision to be both a member of 1% for the Planet and a B Corporation.
One question posed was, does membership in 1% for the Planet impact relationships with retailers and suppliers? Janie answered by stating that when she first approached Whole Foods the B Corp, 1% FTP, and other logos had “been on our labels, had been on our certification labels, [Whole Foods wasn’t] familiar with B Corp, with Slow money but they were brought up in meetings. But they obviously knew 1% for the Planet.”
It was great to hear such a strong response 1% FTP membership! Casey Sheahan posited in response to the same questions that “Virtually [every member] I’ve talked to has seen a lift in business.”
Image Courtesy of B Lab
The webinar was well worth all of the preparation and we couldn’t have asked for better speakers, each representative had clear, precise ideas to share on the impact of the partnerships that formed their businesses in such a significant way.
For more questions, and interviews with B Lab coordinators stay tuned!
If you have any questions about our partnership with B Corp that you’d like to ask on Twitter just ask them and use our hashtag #B1PercentFTP
As I’m sitting here in the sweathouse that is also known as the 1% headquarters in Vermont, I am realizing that I haven’t posted a new member introduction blog in far too long! So here it goes… an introduction to three wonderful (but unrelated) new members! Welcome to Bemed Cosmetiques, Beyond Kombucha and Ourea!
Bemed Cosmetiques is a French brand of ecological and organic cosmetics. Their products reflect the sunny colors and sensual perfumes of the Mediterranean coast. Bemed is so much more than just a new cosmetic company, and through its 1% membership, it is an ecologically responsible business that is committed to preserving the Mediterranean and to work hard for its future.
Beyond Kombucha is NYC’s solar powered kombucha brewery, producing artisan quality kombucha featuring organic and wild-crafted teas from around the world. They are thrilled to be part of 1% for the Planet, in passionate support of the work of Camino Verde, a 1% non-profit partner based in Massachusetts that is dedicated to protecting and preserving the biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon as well as protecting indigenous rights, autonomy and wisdom. Make sure to vote for Beyond Kombucha in this year’s Mission: Small Business grant opportunity, and hopefully they will win $250,000 to help their business grow!
Another new member, Ourea, organizes two mountain running events in the UK; the Great Lakeland 3Day and the Dragon’s Back Race. The mountains where these races take place are beautiful and wild places that the owners of Ourea plan on keeping in pristine condition. They already take steps to minimize the effect that their events have on the environment but it is inevitable that there is some impact. Therefore, it is Ourea’s intention to donate their 1% to organizations at the forefront of protecting and preserving these mountains.
Ourea’s owner Shane with his wife Heather, in Scotland
We would like to extend a warm welcome to these three new member companies and look forward to working with them! Stay cool!
1% for the Planet sponsored the 2012 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, CA last week. We connected with hundreds of business-leaders to build the business-case for our movement, and left the event inspired that the business world is awakening to the challenge. SB12 was packed with interesting seminars, presentations, workshops and side conversations that cut through the hype with a lot of brutal honesty about the challenges companies face regarding sustainability and consumer-trust. 1% for the Planet was often referenced as a network where companies are walking the talk and succeeding financially at the same time.
In the Causeway breakout session, I presented a quick case study about how membership in our network gives businesses a platform of credibility and transparency to engage and inspire all their stakeholders. The Advocate Weeks program by Patagonia Footwear is a beautiful example of how environmental giving can be localized to mobilize employees and activists, driving social engagement and tremendous business success. Do the employees of your wholesale customers write songs and produce music videos about your product, just for fun?
Patagonia Footwear has figured out how to inspire this kind of engagement, while driving triple digit retail sales growth during Advocate Weeks and funding environmental work that local communities care about.
The highlight of the event was the Playhouse dinner and music show that we sponsored. We brought 1% for the Planet member Chris Velan and his band to a beautiful outdoor venue and his music had hundreds of people dancing with joy. We also invited one of our local Recipients, Guitars in the Classroom, (GITC) to help us kick off the music with a group of local elementary school students who played a song from their “Green Song Book” while Chris played along in the background. (Jack Johnson and his wife Kim helped GITC publish this book that educates kids about environmental issues through songs). GITC is an innovative organization that brings music and educational enrichment programs focused on environmental issues to children in dozens of communities in the US. There were many a teary-eye in the audience as these kids really brought home why we all are working for a sustainable environment for future generations.
After our Playhouse presentation dozens of people told me things like “Wow, now I get it. Hearing how membership works from a couple of your member companies, and seeing the impact your movement is having through non-profits like Guitars in the Classroom, now I really get what you guys are all about and I want to be part of this.”
1% for the Planet would like to welcome one of its newest members, George Soules Photography. George is a Mad River Valley resident who is very active in our community. George says about his photography business, “Though I’ve been a photographer since I was in high school, I kept my day job as a software architect for over 30 years. Now in my mid-fifties, I’m pursuing my passion for photography and seeking ways to use it to help others.”
Photo courtesy of George Soules Photography
George Soules has already made his first 1% FTP donation, choosing to support the Vermont Land Trust, thus using his passion to help others! George also donated significant time to our office when he came and took portraits and group photos of all of the employees. The afternoon was great, sunny, warm, a light breeze, and of course some beautiful people trying out Robert Deniro impressions.
We look forward to having George Soules Photography in our network and can’t wait to see what great photos he takes next!
Five days of torrential rain—with temperatures in the 60s—combined with a leaky tent that soaks you on night one, and just two pairs of sopping chammy to get you through… I doubt any of those components would make it on to your list of perfect conditions.
Nonetheless, after pushing for a week through malevolent storms, sopping roads and long, grinding hills, 1% for the Planet member Victoria Vox made it from Eureka to San Francisco undaunted last October. In fact, she recently said of her first Climate Ride “the sum was greater than its parts, and I can’t wait to be a part of that sum again!”
And she was true to her word.
Congratulations to Victoria, who got back on the bike and completed her SECOND Climate Ride, this time under more seasonable skies but with the same goals: to spread awareness about the climate crisis facing our planet, and to offer proactive solutions. If 100+ people can ride their bikes (in work clothes no less!) over 300 miles, there is real hope for the future.
The 1% for the Planet crew couldn’t be more proud of Victoria and all the other Climate Riders who made the journey from New York to DC last week.
We’re looking forward to sharing a post-ride report from Victoria, so stay tuned.
In the meantime I want to take this opportunity to welcome the companies who were motivated to make real change as well—using their businesses as the engines of positive change—but passed on the soaked chammy (and I’m not blaming them).
Congratulations and thank you to the following newly-minted member of 1% for the Planet!
It’s springtime in Vermont. Rivers are running high, grass is growing vigorously, fowls, calves, goat kids and lambs teeter about trying to find their coordination, our fourth year intern, Danny, is back in the haus (welcome back, Kuz!), strawberries are ripe, and the backlog of donation receipts from late April is finally winding down. April 30th is the due date for the majority of our member companies to send in their certifying documents to show that they donated a full 1% of sales from their most recent fiscal year. While this can be a tedious process sifting through lots of paperwork, the pay off lies in learning about all of the great recipient organizations supported by our members this past year.
One partnership that exquisitely exemplifies just how deeply a company’s philanthropic commitment can be integrated into their business model is that between 1% member company, Borea Adventures, and nonprofit partner, The Arctic Fox Center. Borea Adventures joined 1% for the Planet back in the fall of 2009 and from the get-go they knew they would put their 1% donation toward a local Icelandic nonprofit organization, the Arctic Fox Center. The Arctic Fox Center works to protect the only native terrestrial mammal in Iceland, focusing on research, education and sustainable tourism.
The partnership between Borea Adventures and the Arctic Fox Center has been a pleasure to watch as it continues to deepen and strengthen over the years. While it began with a simple (yet significant!) donation of 1% of sales from Borea Adventures to the Arctic Fox Center, the support now extends far beyond the monetary donation. Borea Adventure’s support now includes a Borea Adventure trip specific to promoting further education about the Arctic Foxes. The trip is led by the director of the Arctic Fox Center, Ester Rut, and sails its guests around the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the West Fjords of Iceland — a region that is home to the foxes. In addition to this new trip offer, Sigurdur, of Borea Adventures, has collaborated with Ester to develop a new project, The Wild North, which focuses on creating a more streamlined dialogue between scientists and tourists to develop and promote sustainable wildlife tours with the Arctic fox as the main attraction.
The relationship between Borea Adventures and The Arctic Fox Center is a remarkable example of how a growing business can really integrate the 1% commitment into their business model. Sigurdur informed us that in the year ahead, Borea Adventures hopes to be able to share their equipment and boats with the Arctic Fox Center for their research and field trips. That is what this alliance is about – spreading the wealth, working cooperatively, and creating a greater, more lasting impact than any one of us can accomplish on our own. Thank you to both these groups for reminding us how philanthropy can be intrinsic to a company’s triple bottom line, leaving us all — business, people, planet, and arctic foxes — better off at the end of the day.
Il Palazzone, an Italian vineyard recently took another step in greening their business, this time by looking externally and joining the 1% for the Planet network. Il Palazzone has been focusing on internal sustainability, implementing and utilizing only organic processes and materials and has decreased their carbon footprint by reducing bottle weight by 1/3 (don’t worry the weight loss is from glass not less wine!).
Photo courtesy of Il Palazzone on Facebook
Mandy of Il Palazzone remarks, “At Il Palazzone, we believe that Il vino si fa in vigna, or the wine is made on the vine. In order to produce a great wine, which is our first priority, you need to start with a great grape. You don’t get great grapes by spraying them with chemicals and artificial treatments, but by nurturing a healthy ecosystem. We joined 1% for the Planet because we’re proud to join a network of companies who also believe in sustainability and making responsible decisions.”
I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Il Palazzone to the 1% community and express thanks for their commitment to the earth. We look forward to working with them and hearing about their future partnerships!
Founded in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet is an alliance of businesses that donate at least 1% of revenue to organizations focused in sustainability. The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust and 1% for the Planet share an interest in the long-term preservation of New England’s unique environmental resources and are working to put the power of business to work for the planet.
With the support of the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, 1% for the Planet is dedicating a team, led by Barbara Friedsam, the organization’s New England Network Director, to expand business support for the environment initiatives in the region, such as preserving and enhancing New England’s large forests.
“In an effort to push the envelope of our social-environmental mission, … we are proud to make the commitment to join 1% for the Planet,” said Skinny Pancake co-founder/owner Benjy Adler. “We’ll donate 1% of our sales to grassroots environmental non-profits, with a focus on local food and farm-advocacy groups like NOFA-VT (North Eastern Farming Association of Vermont) and Intervale.”
To date, 1% member companies have donated nearly $1 million to New England non-profit organizations working on land conservation, climate change, water resource protection, renewable energy development, and environmental education. 1% members donate directly to approved non-profits allowing them to remain closely connected to the issues they care about.
1% for the Planet will continue to help businesses work for their communities, both locally and on a larger scale.
The new initiative will include heightening awareness in the business community about key environmental issues and targeted investment opportunities. Ultimately, this will enable collaboration between businesses and non-profits that generate long-term environmental and business benefits. Individuals can help by supporting 1% for the Planet member companies in their strategic giving choices and participating with our local partner NGOs. Please follow 1% for the Planet online for updates on regional developments.
“New England is fertile ground for both business and individual participation in the sustainability movement,” said Barbara Friedsam, New England Network Director at 1%. “We know New Englanders care about how business gets done. When businesses align their purpose with their consumers’ concerns, we can collectively increase the triple bottom line.”
That increased bottom line means making giving easier, which in turn results in happier communities and a healthier ecosystem.
“1% for the Planet applauds those businesses committed to donating 1% of their annual sales to environmental causes and welcomes inclusion of more members to the network. The work New England environmental organizations do to protect the unique resources in this region is critical, and 1% member companies can play a unique role in supporting their work. We are excited about the opportunity to grow our network in New England in collaboration with the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust” said Friedsam.
About 1% for the Planet
1% for the Planet is an alliance of business financially committed to creating a healthy planet. In 2011, the 1% network donated an estimated $22 million to sustainability initiatives. Despite the challenging economic backdrop, over the last three years we have grown by more than one new member company a day. As a network, 1% is a leading funder of environmental work globally, making reinvestment in the environment a necessary tenet of doing business.
About the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust
The Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust, a New England Philanthropy, funds projects in New England in the areas of health, education and the environment. In its environmental grant making, the Trust is focused on large-scale habitat conservation. For more information on the Trust, please refer to www.jbcoxtrust.org.