Archive for 2012
Posted on November 7th, 2012 by gaelan
A Q&A with 1% for the Planet’s Rebecca Calahan Klein
When Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and Blue Ribbon Flies founder Craig Mathews got together for some fly fishing on the Madison River in 2001, talk about fishing quickly turned to talk about business, and, more importantly, about how their businesses survive when the environment does. With this goal of protecting the natural resources that kept them in business, the pair founded 1% for the Planet, the nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging businesses to donate 1% of their annual sales to environmental groups.
What started out as a dream on the Madison River is now a successful reality and a growing network of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet. Today, 1% for the Planet has grown from their two companies to more than 1,400 companies and 2,800 nonprofits, with combined contributions of more than $100 million donated to environmental groups worldwide.
“In our business, if the environment is not healthy, then business is not healthy,” says Rebecca Calahan Klein, Vice President of Organizational Development for 1%. “Companies see value by following the dollars—what matters gets investment. The motto for 1% says, ‘Let’s put our money in places that matter most to our business, and let’s do it year after year.’”
And year after year, they do. 1% acts as a watchdog to ensure financial investment in the earth. Although a lot of companies say they donate a percentage of their profit or make contributions to environmental causes, often they promise more than they deliver. 1% follows through, making sure donations are fulfilled. Companies in the network donate at least 1% of their sales to the nonprofit of their choice. The 1% model makes sure there’s steady funding flowing to the nonprofit community.
The deal is mutually beneficial—companies work with nonprofits to make donations to specific causes, and in return the nonprofits and companies have an exchange of knowledge and project-sharing. Companies that follow through with donations of 1% every year also have exclusive access to the 1% logo, which is currently featured on more than 1 billion products, and growing. The 1% brand has worldwide recognition and provides credibility for consumers, which influences people’s willingness to buy a product.
Where do proceeds from 1% donations go?
Over 20% of proceeds go into environment education, sustainability education, and literacy, Rebecca says.
“People need to know that they’re connected to the environment, and in particular kids, so that they can start to value it. Climate change has been, and continues to be, an area where people are giving. They want to see something done.”
Generally, the environmental groups receiving donations work directly on climate change with policy reform, clean energy generation, sustainable energy—things that have substantial footprints.
“We have a lot of companies that give to, for example, a whole variety of bike alliances around the country. These alliances are focused on getting people out of their cars with alternative methods of transportation, and promoting bike sharing across metropolitan areas.”
So what are some of the companies in the network?
Companies in the network are varied—from apparel to eco-tourism to restaurants; from health and wellness to the movie and music industries—including singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, who has produced songs that directly benefit the cause.
Meanwhile the number of supporters continues to grow.
“Once you start a hub, then that hub grows,” Rebecca says. In addition to founding companies Patagonia and Blue Ribbon Flies, other well-known companies include PETCO, Clif Bar, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Trailblazers, FIJI Water, and more.
“When you go into 1% companies, it’s not that they all live off the grid, but…these companies aren’t turning a blind eye to the cause and saying they have no environmental impact. And yet they aren’t creating what I think of sort of as a ‘perfectionist immobility,’ where you always say you can’t do anything until you get it totally right… then you’ll never do anything. We have a lot of companies that care about these [environmental] values. I think about companies like Klean Kanteen that, say, want their employees to ride to work. Their [and other company’s] understanding of that connectedness of their company to the earth and the climate, and supporting and giving to groups that actually can do things that help people change the way that they live and also create possibilities to build you as a business. You know it all goes around.”
Many of the companies in the 1% network are less than 10 years old, with outdoor-loving founders who really know the environment; they are connected to the environment, and, as Rebecca sums it up, “They get it.”
Additionally, 1% has 50 media partners who donate 1% of annual sales in terms of ad space for marketing campaigns. This year’s current campaign focuses around talking to people about things they can do in their ordinary daily lives to help the planet.
What can be done to get people more involved in helping the planet?
Four years ago the climate had a prominent role in the presidential debates. This year there’s not been a peep about climate change and global warming. Asked why and what we can do to get people to be forward-thinking about the long-term problems of climate change, Rebecca surmised:
“Climate change solutions require people to step out of the box, and with this campaign being so close, the candidates are sticking to the traditional topics….A full 80 percent of all people today believe that climate change is a reality, which is up significantly from four years ago. The reason for this is because people are not just hearing about actual solutions but are starting to see them, from the windmills to the hybrid cars, from the solar panels on rooftops to bike lanes in major metropolitan areas. It’s starting to make it more real for people. And, even though the candidates aren’t talking about it, other people are.”
And people are talking. Patagonia’s “Vote the Environment” campaign (#BecauseILove) encourages people to share what it is that they value most about the environment because that’s what matters most. The campaign focuses on getting people to open a dialog (regardless of party lines), and to talk about the environment—not just during the political season but all year long. And 1% has been working with other companies in their network to join the campaign, to get more people to think about the environment and to ask about it in this campaign.
“It’s interesting to see in the last eight weeks the exploding conversation,” Rebecca says. 1% has contributed to the campaign by adding widgets on its site, as well as getting members and nonprofits to add widgets to their sites, to tweet, and to share the message.
What are some sustainability practices that other businesses can use to help affect climate change?
Rebecca stresses that all companies should look into their business practices. They should ask themselves: Where are there environmental impacts, both good and bad, in the business? How can we not only tweak our procedures to have less of an environmental impact, but how can we get our employees to take up the cause, as well?
1% member Clif Bar, for example, recently led a “2-mile challenge” campaign within its workplace. Employees were encouraged to get rid of just one 2-mile trip by vehicle and instead to walk (or bike) it to their location. This small change, when compounded, can make a huge climate impact.
“Companies should be aware of where they’ve been doing well, and where there’s a need for change and innovation. There’s always room for improving your model and procedures to rein in your environmental footprint.”
That’s where BCorps, or benefit corporations, come in. In addition to focusing on the three biggies of climate impact and sustainability—energy, water, and waste—companies can become registered B Corporations. “Certified BCorps“ are corporations that “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” Backed by the nonprofit B Lab, which works with businesses to solve social and economical problems, BCorp-certified leaders, such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, have worked to pass legislation in more than 11 states (more states are reviewing the legislation) to create a new type of corporation that “best meets the needs of entrepreneurs and investors seeking to use business to solve social and environmental problems.”
“So therefore,” Rebecca explains, “when the company is set up, you can say that you’re here to help protect the environment and to help build communities. Putting it in the legal [contract] of a company allows that company to do different things that it wouldn’t do otherwise.”
BCorp offers a free assessment tool to help companies see where they can do well for the environment and where they can improve. Because doing well for the environment, as 1% founders Yvon and Craig first noted more than 10 years ago, not only benefits the companies, but also helps ensure a healthy planet for generations to come.
Photos courtesy 1% for the Planet.
Posted on November 7th, 2012 by jon
The snow is starting to fall here in Vermont and it won’t be long until we’re breaking out the skis and snowshoes! Pretty soon it will be puffy jackets, hats, and mittens on the way to and from work. Brrrr! Along with ushering in the winter’s first snows, we also wanted to introduce new member businesses Native Box, Lilian Dauzat, and Hanley’s Foods.
Native Box is a monthly subscription of natural, eco-firendly, and sustainable products that are healthier, safer, and better for you and the planet. Based out of Peakhurst, Austrailia, Native Box is committed to connecting its customers with businesses that provide exceptional organic and pure eco-products. By subscribing to their service, consumers will save time, money, and disappointment. Not only does Native Box offer an amazing service, but they are committed to doing business the right way. According to their mission statement:
We believe that each dollar spent is vote cast for a healthier world. We have the power to tell the market what we want produced and how we want it manufactured. This is the power of choice and it feels good! It’s our mission to make it easier to make good shopping decisions that are better for you, your family and your planet and this is primarily why Native Box chooses to partner with 1% for the Planet. Together we seek to make a positive impact by working with like minded organizations and ensuring that funds go back into a sustainable Planet for future generations to enjoy.”
We are incredibly excited to have Native Box in the network and we look forward to expanding the influence of 1% for the Planet in Australia!
One of our other new international member businesses is Lilian Dauzat. As the owner and operator, Lilian acts as an independent consultant that specializes in business development, planning, strategy, and web marketing. When discussing his decision to join 1% for the Planet, Lilian said “we have exceeded the limits of what the planet can provide and support: that’s a fact. Each and everyone’s action is necessary to try and repair the damages to the environment, but alone, you quickly feel helpless. This is the reason why I think that a private company joining a network of like-minded organizations is the ideal structure to allow a large scale change.” It’s wonderful to welcome another member business to our growing network in France and exciting to see Lilian Dauzat’s commitment to using business to help solve our environmental problems.
Last but not least, we would like to extend a warm welcome to Hanley’s Foods, based in Prairieville, Louisiana. Established in August 2012 by Richard Hanley Jr., this new business is producing a delicious salad dressing that his family has been perfecting for decades. Richard’s passion for making salad dressing for family and friends transitioned into the company it is today, after a trip to the local market. According to company lore, he had gone to gather up all of his favorite ingredients to make another bottle of his famous dressing, when a light bulb went off. He thought, “Why isn’t this in stores? Not only is Sensation salad dressing a classic in southern Louisiana, but the locals know and love it.” Two years later, the dressing launched. Not only is this beloved dressing created using an authentic southern-style family recipe, but it contains no preservatives or additives, it’s made locally, and it’s packaged in recyclable glass bottles. Becoming part of 1% for the Planet allowed Hanley’s Foods to show their true support of environmental causes. We thank Richard for his commitment and look forward to trying out a bottle of “Sensation” in the near future!
Welcome to all of our new members at home and abroad! Lets keep the momentum going into the winter.
Posted on November 5th, 2012 by brittany
Thanks to a generous grant from the Orfalea Foundation, 1% FTP now has the opportunity and resources it needs to launch an in-depth effort to build out its California network. To kick it off, myself and colleague, Rebecca, have been hosting several 1% FTP network gatherings throughout this golden state. The goal of these gatherings is to get caught up with our local members and nonprofits, meet face to face, chat about what high impact partnerships are currently underway, and to discuss what environmental issues should be on the docket! Thus far, we’ve had four gatherings in Berkeley, San Francisco, Petaluma and Santa Cruz.
These gatherings have been fantastic! Last week at The Hub, San Francisco, I was so pleased to actively watch members and nonprofits connect and create plans for follow-up working relationships. Bill Acevedo, of member company Wendel, Rosen, Black and Dean, LLP invited Mike Marshall, Executive Director of nonprofit partner Restore Hetch Hetchy, to be a guest on his radio show, The Wendel Forum. Mike will use the air time to discuss his current work on Prop F – a ballot measure that requires the city of San Francisco to make a plan for the city’s water future. Thanks to Bill and his show, Mike will now be getting the word out for “YES on F” to a new audience. Be sure to listen in – you can hear it every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. here!
Of course, if you’ve been reading your 1% email communications, you’re well aware that we are in the final push with Patagonia‘s Twitter campaign for Vote the Environment. Naturally, we’ve woven in some tweeting fun at these events and all attendees have greatly enjoyed getting out their #becauseilove statement to support the campaign! Whether or not you’ve been able to attend an event, we encourage you to take action and Vote the Environment! Pictured below, myself along with Forest and Ingrid, of 1% member company Painted Sun Recordings, vote the environment #becausewelove YOU.
When we’re not busy crafting our clever Vote the Environment tweets, it has been wonderful to hear about the great work that’s underway amongst our network. Here in the east bay, the conversation revolved heavily around sustainable agriculture and access to local food. Linda, of Self-Sustaining Communities, and Leah, of Mesa, gave updates about their organizations’ initiatives on both food and agriculture — Self-Sustaining Communities is busy remodeling urban spaces into local community gardens, while MESA is providing cross-cultural exchanges to preserve traditional techniques and to spur innovation amongst today’s up-and-coming farmers. Over in Petaluma, with Neal of 1% member company Three Twins Ice Cream (pictured below), the Daily Acts, the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy and the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance all partook in an inspiring discussion about the opportunity to pool their time and resources together to protect their local Petaluma River.
As exemplified by the aforementioned conversations, these gatherings have allowed us to see clear examples of the 1% model in action. This past Monday at our Santa Cruz get-together, Laura Kasa, the Executive Director of Save Our Shores, shared with us a great story about how she became acquainted with the 1% network through Peak Teams. Peak Teams, a 1% member company that provides organizational development to businesses around the world, reached out to Save Our Shores, because they were interested to learn about their work and if it might align with Peak Teams’ mission of leading positive change. This was back in April of this year, and since this initial check-in, Peak Teams has become Save Our Shores’ most significant donor, they’ve spoken at fundraisers and provided silent auction donations, and this past August, Shane Toohey, CEO of Peak Teams, joined the board of Save Our Shores. “1% for the Planet was the way we got connected to such a great company. We are grateful,” remarks Laura.
These gatherings have been a bundle of fun and inspiration, and the people attending them make all the difference. From the law firms, musicians and real estate agents, to the makers of some bare necessities of life: sail bags, salsa bowls, awesome shades (modeled below by our very own Rebecca Calahan Klein!), delicious soda, surf trips and ice cream, it makes for quite the delightful medley of businesses and nonprofits all coming together to support the planet!
Thank you all for the great work you do, and a huge thanks goes out to our event hosts: Three Twins Ice Cream, the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, and The Hub (both Berkeley and San Francisco)! For those of you in the Ventura, Chico, San Diego, or LA area – stay in touch (email@example.com), because we are coming your way soon!
Lastly… it’s the day before election day so it seems most befitting that I gently remind everyone to VOTE! and conclude this post with a Vote the Environment Tweet:
@Bnunnink: I vote the environment #becauseilove & believe in the power & influence of #CSR to support a healthier planet & future http://bit.ly/SOQv1I
Posted on November 4th, 2012 by Leah
1% for the Planet Announces Latest New England Member Companies
Vermont-based 1% for the Planet announced 19 new companies from the New England region have joined the network so far in 2012. Members of 1% for the Planet contribute 1% of annual sales directly to approved non-profit organizations. Non-profits are approved based on referrals, track record and sustainability focus and currently over 3,000 non-profits worldwide are eligible to receive donations.
”The growth of our New England network shows the continued strength of our business-movement as a force for positive change,” said Barbara Friedsam, 1% for the Planet’s New England Network Director. “Our member companies are using business as a tool to engage customers and change behaviors while directly addressing environmental challenges in the region.”
“Given that our business operates in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest, Sugarbush Resort has a special responsibility to help preserve and protect our ecosystem and minimize the environmental impacts of doing business,” said Win Smith, President of Sugarbush Resort. “Our efforts have included the use of biodiesel, waste diversion programs, composting initiatives and long-term water quality restoration projects, which have been lauded by the EPA as a ‘success story.’ Sugarbush’s 1% for the Planet membership through the Timbers Restaurant is a further step towards committing more resources to environmental causes outside of our company, and we are looking forward to our partnership with 1% for the Planet and seeing the impacts of these additional investments.”
The 19 latest member companies from New England are:
“As we enter our 10th anniversary year we’re celebrating that our members have contributed nearly $100 million of critically needed funds to grassroots environmental organizations,” said Terry Kellogg, CEO of 1% for the Planet.
There’s a paradigm shift happening here. The combined revenue growth of the companies in the 1% for the Planet network from 2009 to 2011 was over 20%, even though the overall economy has been struggling. The understanding that brands can succeed financially by investing in the environment is apparent, and consumer demand is driving a lot of this success.
“Partnering with the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust has allowed us to focus on New England and we’re beginning to see results right here in our backyard. We are thrilled to see the momentum as 1% for the Planet members put the power of their brand behind investment in regional environmental initiatives,” said Friedsam.
About 1% for the Planet
Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet is a platform of credibility and engagement for environmentally conscious brands that are committed to making a positive impact with their business. This global movement of more than 1000 member companies in 45 countries donates 1% of annual sales directly to approved environmental organizations worldwide. 1%FTP annually reviews financial records to certify that member companies meet their commitment. To learn more go to: www.onepercentfortheplanet.org.
Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by pauline
Nature’s Path Foods “EnviroKidz” brand has announced their annual grant program. As a member of 1% for the Planet, each year, Nature’s Path donates 1% of the sales of EnviroKidz products to environmental organizations. If your charitable organization works in North America to support the environment, and educates youth about what they can do to help, then they want you!
Grants of up to $20,000 are available to qualifying projects. Applications are being accepted up to November 30th through Nature’s Path’s Facebook page. Full rules and regulations can be found online.
Nature’s Path is excited to support innovative environmental leaders and they can’t wait to hear from you! It’s not everyday that you have the chance to partner with koalas, gorillas or lemurs, so get your application in soon!
Posted on November 1st, 2012 by pauline
This past weekend, Waitsfield, VT community members helped build sandbag barriers and secure plywood to window frames in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. While Vermont was lucky this time, our hearts go out to hard hit communities along the East Coast.
We’ve heard from many of our business members who want to use their 1% contributions to assist recovery efforts—and we’re here to help you connect with groups making a difference.
Until we can get a comprehensive list of organizations doing work on the ground, we encourage you to support our partners working to reduce the chance of storms like Sandy happening in the first place. Climate change is a reality that must be taken seriously.
Please consider donating to the following organizations, and if you know of others that can use our help, let us know!
350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis (350.org/mission). 350.org is known for pulling together massive groups of people worldwide who want to fight against the fossil fuel industry- our largest carbon emitters. By solving the climate crisis, they are lowering the likelihood of storms like Sandy occurring as frequently. Along with asking for your support, they are asking Big Oil, Coal and Gas to help pay for the damage they have created.
Another organization that is doing great Sandy-related work is Climate Central, based in Princeton, NJ. Climate Central conducts scientific research on climate change and informs the public of key findings (climatecentral.org/about). Climate Central is not an advocacy organization; they are conveying the scientific facts so citizens and policymakers can work to stabilize the climate and/or prepare for the impacts it will have on us.
Please keep in mind that while you cannot count donations to unapproved organizations toward your 1% contribution, organizations like the Red Cross can always use your help during times like this. As news comes in we will be in touch via our Facebook and Twitter pages to share other ways you can help!
Posted on October 31st, 2012 by pauline
1% for the Planet member Smock (and parent company Boxcar Press) make beautiful letterpress products using sustainable printing and business practices in Syracuse, New York. Printers have historically played a role in negatively impacting the environment through deforestation, which is why Smock wholeheartedly believes in making the planet a better place.
Earlier this year, Smock introduced the “Change the World” card series, with 100% of profits donated to nonprofit organizations focusing on critical environmental issues affecting our planet. For the series’ second card, Smock teamed with Earthworks to raise awareness of the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking).
All profits from these cards are donated to Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project, which reforms the oil and gas industry and supports affected communities. The card comes with a temporary tattoo that reads “Gas and Water Don’t Mix.” Both Smock and Earthworks are encouraging citizens to don the temporary tattoos in solidarity with the people living in 34 states where drilling and fracking is underway. You can join the dozens of people who have already shared their photos and personal stories by uploading yours to Tumblr. Here is a picture of the 1% staff with the tattoos on…
Why the focus on fracking? Smock is located in upstate New York, close to the Marcellus Shale, so the environmental threat that fracking presents hits close to home. Each month, around 2,000 new oil and gas wells are drilled in the U.S., and about 90% of these new wells are fracked. To get the natural gas out of the ground, each well requires anywhere from 3 to 15 million gallons of water and lots chemicals to extract the gas. A large percentage of this chemical laced water remains in the earth, threatening our clean water supply. Rarely do we know what these chemicals are: the oil and gas industry is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Superfund law. This is a serious problem that puts the environment — and our drinking water — at risk. Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project is leading the way to protect public health, the environment and our climate from these dangers.
We’re excited about this partnership and hope you join their movement by submitting pictures for their Tumblr, or buying some cards!
Posted on October 26th, 2012 by pauline
As Hurricane Sandy is approaching the East Coast, I’m realizing that this is the first time this fall I’ve truly been confused about what type of weather is ideal. Today I am working from home in Vermont, where it is a balmy 62 degrees. It’s the perfect fall temperature for a run, hike, pick-up basketball game, or finishing up some last minute garden work- or of course, to sit inside and write a blog post. But anyway, at the same time, now that most of the leaves have fallen and all the trees aren’t the prettiest sight to see, I think I might be ready for snow. So whether or not this Snoreastercane (Snow-Nor’easter-Hurricane, get it?) hits us hard next week, I’m sure we’ll see snowfall soon!
The promise of snow excites many, especially one of our newest members—Soul Poles from Park City, Utah. Welcome to our network!
Soul Poles’ motto is: “No snow. No ski. That’s the simple fact of global warming and the grim predictions of disappearing alpine snow. And it inspired Soul’s singular focus: Innovate the greenest equipment in the snow sports industry by merging sustainable design with uncompromising performance and truly original style.”
Soul Poles are a one of a kind product created by skiers, for skiers, with an eye toward the future of skiing. Each and every Soul Pole is handcrafted in Park City using the most eco-friendly materials possible and is carefully guided through every step of the manufacturing process to ensure only the highest quality poles make it to the consumer. In doing this, Soul Poles can help to reduce waste (by not having to replace your poles), initiate a sustainable movement within the ever-consuming ski industry, and provide you with not only a functional ski pole, but a piece of art as well, whether it is the Original Soul, or the Limited Edition created by artist R. Nelson Parrish.
Check out their website to order a pair, or read about their involvement with 1% FTP approved nonprofit partners Recycle Utah and Protect Our Winters. Have a great weekend!
Posted on October 26th, 2012 by gaelan
Robbyn Scott and Mickey McLeod try to contribute nothing to the world that cannot be reused, repurposed or recycled.
My wife Robbyn Scott and I are in business to make money.
And that is a very good thing for ourselves, our families, Salt Spring Coffee employees, our partners, the communities we work in and serve and, ultimately, our customers.
In short, we are profit proud and have never suggested otherwise.
Still, as a company that strives to balance profit with protecting the planet, we are in the minority.
We are baffled that relatively few others are doing the same because, once you get started, it’s not that difficult.
And, as we have found since we founded the company on Saltspring Island in 1996, doing good for the planet is good for the bottom line.
The core of our business is caring about where the coffee comes from, its origin, and the people who grow it.
We cultivate partnerships with farmers and co-operatives and go beyond traditional trade methods to improve their communities. And we visit those farms regularly because we value those personal relationships.
We strive to contribute nothing to the world that cannot be reused, repurposed or recycled.
We compost absolutely everything we can at our office headquarters, roasting facilities and our three cafes.
Similarly, we recycle cardboard, paper, soft plastic, milk jugs, and hard plastics, and electronics.
Our burlap coffee sacks can be used as anti-weed liners or storage sacks and they are very popular with farmers and backyard gardeners.
We package our coffees in non-standard size cardboard boxes to ensure our shipments are as compact as possible.
And our fleet of low-emission Honda Fits goes easy on the environment.
Through the use of an afterburner, smoke produced from roasting is rendered invisible and odourless, which maintains air quality and happy neighbours.
Our Viking Roasting Centre in Richmond is powered with 100-per-cent green electricity and 100-per-cent green natural gas through Bullfrog Power. We also have enough space to store green beans on site therefore reducing transportation.
I could go on because I am pretty passionate about our initiatives. But I’m even more excited about inviting more of my fellow entrepreneurs to do likewise.
Our story goes something like this.
We started small, and we pursued growth without straying from our core beliefs, which extend to all hires and business practices. And our fair to farmer practices — we pay above-market rates to farmer-owned coffee co-operatives because they do not harm the environment with their production methods. These co-operatives have attracted a loyal following in B.C. and Alberta. At the end of the day, it helps us build loyalty that is good for business.
Salt Spring Coffee is now one of Canada’s largest micro-roasters and our coffee can be found at most major grocery stores in Western Canada. We employ 65 people, roast about 3,500 pounds of coffee a day, and generate sales of almost $10 million annually.
We have always been committed to sustainable business practices and understand that sometimes that means improving the way we do things takes time.
For example, in 2006 the company moved beyond the traditional trade relationship with coffee growers and established a direct trade model. This evolved into the Fair to Farmer program in 2010. And on several fronts we’re still working to get better because, as far as we’ve come, we appreciate that in business, as in life, there is always much to learn.
Think the coffee business isn’t a big deal? Coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world behind oil. We know that improvements, from farmer to barista, have the potential to boost social, economic and environmental standards worldwide.
One significant move we recently made toward our goal was to join 1% for the Planet, a global movement of companies donating at least one per cent of their annual revenues to environmental organizations worldwide.
Being a 1% member gives us access to a global group of like-minded businesses.
It also streamlines the giving process and helps us be more strategic about the organizations to which we give and more clear about how we communicate our story.
Our giving reflects what we stand for and helps us support the communities in which we operate. That means a lot to us, to our growers, to our customers. Furthermore, our non-profit partners, like LOCO BC (locobc.com), have also benefited from becoming approved non-profit partners and instantly plugging into other 1% for the Planet members.
Today there are nearly 1400 companies in 45 countries that, along with us, are member businesses of 1% for the Planet. We challenge other entrepreneurs to join this innovative organization. They’ll find it will make their businesses better and that, as part of a network of like-minded leaders, that we can do together what we cannot do alone.
Start small, align all business practices with your core values, think long-term and know that being profitable and socially responsible can go hand in hand.
Mickey McLeod co-founded Salt Spring Coffee with his wife, Robbyn Scott, in 1996. Salt Spring Coffee joined 1% for the Planet earlier this year.
Posted on October 24th, 2012 by pauline
The following entry and pictures were sent to us by our friends at the Coastside Land Trust, a 1% for the Planet recipient. We hope you take a minute to read it, and learn about the importance of land stewardship!
What do you do when you have a large conservation easement that has been overgrown with thistle, grasses and other plants and you want to “mow” it in an environmentally sensitive way? Who are you going to call? “Goats-R-Us” of course!
The community of Half Moon Bay is located on “The Peninsula” in San Mateo County, California. It is a 30 minute drive from San Francisco International Airport and Silicon Valley, and just a hair longer from San Francisco. But this community is a world away from these urbanized areas. It is defined by dramatic coastal bluffs, working farmlands and stunning open space. One of our nonprofit partners, the Coastside Land Trust (“CLT”) is dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing this beautiful open space environment.
One of the parcels for which CLT has a conservation easement, is the right of way for the abandoned Ocean Shore Railroad, which ceased operation in 1921. This beautiful area parallels the western-most street in the southern portion of Half Moon Bay and is a gateway to the casual trails of the coastal bluffs. It is vegetated in grasses, thistle, native wildflowers and other native plants. In the late summer the vegetation browns and requires mowing, but using a tractor-pulled mower would kick-up lots of dust and debris, spread the seeds of non-native species and thistle and possibly harm some of the native plants.
So CLT turned to Goats R Us. This family-owned company contracts its specially bred and trained goats throughout Northern California for grazing. The goats are trained to eat just about everything on the ground: Bristly Ox-tongue, thistle, and native and non-native grasses, Monterey Pines and willow. A shepherd erects a portable electric fence around the site, the goats are hauled-in and he and his two dogs watch the herd while the goats eat to their heart’s content. When they finish grazing a section, the shepherd moves the fence and the dogs herd them along.
CLT leveraged the goats into an opportunity to involve and educate the community in good stewardship practices. Flyers were distributed to residents in the immediate area alerting them to the impending arrival of the goats. Volunteers and staff went door-to-door seeking donations of water for the goats. (Hoses had to be run from the houses to the right of way, and water is expensive on the coast). A donor stepped-up to defray much of the cost of the herd. CLT created an “adopt a goat” program to raise money to bring the goats back next year: for a $10 donation a person can adopt a goat for 2013. One of its volunteers photographed the goats in action and created note cards available for purchase from CLT. All of these donations and proceeds will go into a special “2013 Goat Fund.”
The program was a great success. Over 200 goats were on the site for about 10 days; their fenced area was moved almost daily. They became a local “hit”, and many residents came to the site with their families to watch the goats in action. The site was eaten clean, with the exception of some of the thistle stems and larger shrubs. The seed pods on the thistle stems will be clipped by hand and bagged by CLT volunteers in order to prevent seed spreading. And so far CLT has 30 goats sponsored for next year – far short of its goal, but a good start!
Some people think of land trusts as merely land owners but CLT makes an extra effort to be a good steward of the lands it owns and manages. Through its volunteers and generous donations, both large and small, CLT has been able to improve and enhance the beautiful open space areas of the Half Moon Bay community. 1% for the Planet members are invited to visit the CLT office and its art gallery on Main Street the next time they are in Northern California. The goats may be dining elsewhere, but visitors will be impressed by the beauty and wildlife of the coastal bluffs, and they will understand why CLT volunteers work so hard to keep the bluffs in their natural state.
After the goat invasion!