Our friends at TREW, sent us this awesome explanation of why they support the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute through their 1% FTP commitment. Thanks for sharing this with us Tripp!
Nearly five years ago, before we had seen one cent in revenue, Chris, John, and I made a commitment to be an outstanding company- we signed up for 1% For The Planet. In our minds this was a simple way to let people know that we believe TREW is an exemplary company and that we recognize the fact that the sports we love so much depend heavily on a healthy environment. Of course, we strive to be exemplary in many other ways, but making this commitment gave us the structure to give back.
There are A LOT of organizations worthy of receiving donations from 1% members. Yet two things were clear to us- 1) community matters and 2) children are the future of our planet. We strive to create a engaging community with our customers and we strive to be great members of our local community- Hood River. Additionally, we believe the most effective way to preserve our environment is to empower future generations with a passion for our planet and the outdoors. As today’s children grow old, those that have a vested interest in and knowledge of our planet will fight harder and make life choices that aid in maintaining a healthy environment.
That is why since our founding we have partnered with the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute- a local organization based in Hood River focusing on environmental education. In addition to our monetary donation, we like to spend time in the field with the great people of CGEI. This allows us to see how our donation is being spent and to engage with the kids of our community. On Friday, April 5, I spent the morning at Mid Valley Elementary in Hood River teaching kids about photosynthesis and how amazing it is that a plant can generate its own food with a few simple ingredients. This wasn’t just a lecture to 5th graders , but a fully interactive game that reinforced the key components of the lesson. Over the course of the next couple months all these 5th graders are going to learn a tremendous amount of knowledge- all of which arms them with the basics to understand the problems facing our planet. To be a part of that transfer of knowledge, even if for only an April morning, was great. Here’s to future generations that care!
We have an exciting announcement from one of our tastiest members! If you like gorillas, animals, Gorilla Munch, cereal, breakfast or even t-shirts, you’ll want to read on….
Nature’s Path is giving away 50 gorilla adoptions through the EnviroKidz Great Gorilla Giveaway in partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (a recipient of their 1% FTP contribution). To enter, parents should go to the EnviroKidz Facebook page and describe in 100 words or less why they or their child would make a great gorilla parent. The winners will be awarded a framed gorilla adoption certificate and photo, an adoption report, an EnviroKidz Gorilla Munch t-shirt, a field notebook and an Eco Pac of Gorilla Munch cereal.
Don’t miss out on this amazing package of goodies and make sure to sign up by April 28th!
My name is Cliff Hodges – I’m the CEO and founder of Adventure Out. We are an outdoor school based in Santa Cruz, CA and we operate programs all over the western United States: surf camps, rock climbing trips, wilderness survival skills instruction, backpacking trips, mountain biking tours, and more. I founded the company in late 2004 with the mission of cultivating environmental stewardship through adventure programming. In short, I started Adventure Out to help people fall back in love with nature.
1% For The Planet was a no-brainer for us – we joined in early 2006 as member number 430. When people ask me if it was a difficult commitment to make, I always say with complete honesty: “The business was so new at that point, it was 1% off nothing – it was easy!” But I firmly believe that making that commitment early on in the business was crucial because it just became business as usual – we give 1%, no questions asked. As the company has grown, from serving a couple hundred people in 2005, to over 5000 last year in 2012, obviously the revenues have increased, and so has that 1%. But it’s never been difficult to give, in fact, it’s always been a complete joy.
Last year our major donation went to the Portola Redwoods & Castle Rock Foundation. In the face of a huge California state budget shortfall, Castle Rock was one of our state parks that were put on the chopping block. I joined a coalition of non-profits and businesses that stood up and raised $250,000.00 to keep that amazing park (and amazing rock climbing crag) open to the public. It was quite a thrilling experience and victory for public open space.
Looking ahead, the thing I’m most excited about is teaching and inspiring other young adventure entrepreneurs to make that same charitable commitment. After years of getting requests to train guides and franchise our business, Adventure Out has just launched our Affiliation and Guide Training programs. Both new guides/programs, as well as existing outdoor businesses can get training, and license the Adventure Out brand name to run and promote their own adventure programs. We hope to be able to offer business coaching, marketing help, a powerful brand, and of course, a 1% For The Planet commitment to all the businesses that join the Adventure Out network.
(Thanks for sharing this Cliff- we’re so thankful for your support!)
John Caletti, the owner of 1% for the Planet member Caletti Cycles, sent along this great post about his 1% commitment… thanks for Loving Blue, John!
I value and respect our natural world, and I understand that running a business takes a toll on the environment . It’s important to reduce and offset the damage as much as possible. 1% FTP is a good structure for my business and has the added value of being a movement in partnership with others with similar values. I’m a cyclist and I build custom bicycles, so the bulk of my donations went to “Bikes Belong” to get more people on bikes for cleaner and simpler transportation.
Additionally I gave to Shark Savers, as I live on the coast and have a fascination and appreciation for sharks as an important part of our ecosystem who are endangered and misunderstood. Maybe they’ll be even nicer to me when I’m out in the water paddling, surfing or diving.
The following post was featured on Ascenta’s blog yesterday, in honor of Earth Day. We appreciate Ascenta’s continued support and for sharing their founder’s kind words with us- thanks for Loving Blue, Marc!
Established in June of 2003 the Ascenta story is nearing a decade. It seems like an appropriate stage of a company’s life cycle to reflect back on what you set out to accomplish and what you’ve achieved since. Being that it’s Earth Day this reflection is centered on Ascenta’s long term vision of sustainability and ecological prosperity.
Back in 2003 I have to admit that I had yet to fully define what my vision was for Ascenta. I naively followed my passion for natural health and a belief that we could transform lives with omega-3, the “missing” ingredient. After contemplating the broader meaning of health the story of Ascenta began to evolve. The goal of creating health became a goal of building prosperity and a notion that everything is interconnected.
As we began to shift our thinking we soon realised there were so many areas within our business that needed attention. The challenge was that we were still a relatively small growing company, resources were scarce, and seemingly never enough time to get everything done. The prospect of adding new tasks and a different way of thinking was a bit daunting.
This is typically the juncture where most companies adopt a “good enough” mentality and shift their primary focus towards fiscal responsibility. A good analogy would be a student graduating from university and excited to take on the world. As they take those first steps into a brave new world they quickly realise their goals and dreams don’t line up that well with how society defines success. You therefore let go of your dreams or at least give them a hard pruning.
Companies do the same thing. The thrill and excitement of a start-up company is undeniable. It’s a platform system for ideas and imagination. The socially oriented entrepreneur however will soon face the reality that the model you are trying to build does not yet exist thereby requiring you to become a pioneer and navigate uncharted waters. Adhering to your vision and values will be constantly challenged and you even risk alienating yourself. While loosening your grip on your original intentions can relieve some of the pressure this becomes a slippery slope and could ultimately compromise the vision.
All these challenges facing the social entrepreneur I have lived first hand and admit that I have made decisions in the past that were heavily influenced by internal and external pressures. In those cases I did what was expected of me, not what I wanted to do. The greatest gift for navigating through life is self awareness. It monitors in real-time the choices you make and its impact on your life. Ultimately it helps you identify when you make poor decisions and lets you learn and improve.
While many companies aspire to become sustainable the truth is that today there is no such thing as a sustainable company. Our current economy does not follow a cyclical flow. It’s a linear mathematical model that believes natural resources are inexhaustible and the planet has infinite storage capacity for waste and toxic debris. Therefore most of the resources a company requires to operate (power, construction materials, office supplies, electronics, etc) are scarcely available as fully eco-friendly alternatives.
While the vision is to be sustainable the process to get there is about reducing your ecological footprint. Making the best possible decisions based on ecological impact requires a solid understanding of the product or ingredient supply chain. One of the best examples I can highlight would be the garment and textile industry. While most would regard a simple t-shirt as having a relatively low ecological impact the reality is a very different story. The cotton for this t-shirt is grown in a field where heavy pesticides and herbicides are applied to the extent that no other life forms can be supported including other plants, insects, and wildlife. These chemicals eventually leach into the groundwater and are no longer localised.
Next the cotton is likely to be processed in a developing country where the factories discharge the toxic effluent from the dyes into the nearby river thereby impacting biological life over a vast geography. It should be noted that this practice also occurs in developed countries. Furthermore the employees in these factories work for unfair wages and statistically present with cancer rates 40x higher than the normal population. The matter of fact is that in business we often focus only on our own activities and discount the impact of the entire supply chain from which we depend. Supply chain management is probably the most challenging and time consuming aspect of the “sustainable” company.
It wasn’t until 2006 that we intently began examining the impact of our business beyond our own activities. Because the primary resource for our products is fish we needed to first and foremost better understand fisheries management. To help us do that we developed a relationship with a marine biologist working in the area of fisheries management and conservation. It’s a well known fact that our global fish supplies have been depleted by overfishing. It was therefore extremely important that we audit the fisheries we were sourcing from as well as audit any fishery we planned to source from in the future.
Greenwashing has become a very sophisticated practice in the world of commerce so applying scientific rigor to the process of supply chain management is critical. We witnessed this first hand in our assessment of the Antarctic krill industry. The story behind krill oil sounds too good to be true. Multiple internet sources promote it as being an almost inexhaustible resource and claim that it provides omega-3 with up to 10x the potency of omega-3 from fish. After conducting thorough research on this potential source the findings clearly indicated the krill fishery was a poor ecological choice at this time and the benefits of krill omega-3 over fish omega-3 were not significant. Today consumers pay upwards of 10x as much for krill oil vs. fish oil due to savvy marketing not scientific validation. Despite the potential for increased profits krill is not on our list of approved omega-3 sources.
As an entrepreneur one of my greatest mentors is Yvon Chouinard, founder of the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. In 2012 Yvon published the book entitled The Responsible Company. In this book he discusses the importance of supply chain management and coined the phrase “an examined life”. The process of examining your life, or business, means making conscious decisions about everything you do to ensure it aligns with your values and leads to the change you want to create in this world. Becoming a responsible company means understanding all the issues, researching all the viable options, and making decisions aligned with your values. This philosophy must be applied throughout your organisation.
How far is a company willing to go to push those boundaries and pioneer a path towards sustainability? For a company like Patagonia they will go as far as they possibly can. Yvon is considered one of the great social entrepreneurs of our era and has leveraged business success to create global change. He may even argue that the change he created was responsible for his business success. Either way the story of Patagonia is a North Star for companies like Ascenta.
While the story of Patagonia and The Responsible Company have contributed greatly to my beliefs Yvon’s greatest influence has been the result of an initiative he gave birth to in 2002. Discouraged by the amount of greenwashing and the continued degradation of the natural world Yvon, along with his good friend Craig Mathews, created 1% for the Planet. With a commitment to donate at least 1% of total sales to environmental non-profits 1% for the Planet companies represent a new level of environmental responsibility and transparency. Unlike most corporations where environmental giving is considered “charitable”, 1% for the Planet companies view it as a cost of doing business. Some refer to it as “keeping the Earth in business”.
Since its inception in 2002, the network of 1% for the Planet companies has grown to over 1000 companies worldwide, representing the largest source of environmental giving in the world having reached over $70 million in 2012. Back in 2007, I was exploring several ideas in an attempt to start closing the sustainability loop including establishing university grants for the purpose of funding research in ocean conservation. To my surprise the university board of directors turned down the idea citing concerns it may appear that the university was endorsing the company’s products. While this left me scratching my head I reminded myself that sometimes things happen for a reason.
Not long after, I was at home relaxing to a new CD by one of my favorite music artists Jack Johnson. While reading the back cover of the eco-friendly CD sleeve I noticed for the first time the 1% for the Planet logo. Jack Johnson has always been a point source of inspiration for me, so I decided to look further into this logo. That became the light bulb moment as if fate brought us together.
Philosophically everything about 1% for the Planet resonated and I was eager to present this idea internally at Ascenta. While there were natural hesitations around the financial risk of the commitment, we all decided this embodied our vision and values. Entrepreneurs and business leaders know that as a growing business there will be times when finances are constrained and years where profits will not be realized. The idea behind 1% for the Planet is that companies have an ecological impact regardless of their profitability therefore environmental giving should always be linked to sales not profits.
At Ascenta we see this as a long term investment in our future. Without healthy productive natural ecosystems there would be no business. Since joining this movement in 2007, Ascenta has donated over a half million dollars to environmental non-profits including the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Ecology Action Centre, and Heal the Bay. Being associated with 1% for the Planet has enriched our culture at Ascenta, increased our awareness of key environmental issues, and connected us with some of the most inspiring and dedicated people trying to build a better world for all of us.
While 1% for the Planet is our most significant endeavor thus far, continuing to apply the idea of leading an “examined life” has lead to other key initiatives. In the province of Nova Scotia we have been subjected to an archaic energy industry fed primarily by dirty coal. Nova Scotia Power Inc is consistently listed as one of the top greenhouse gas emitters in Canada and reluctant to move the region away from cheap fossil fuels.
Then came along Bullfrog Power, a green certified renewable energy provider founded by eco-entrepreneurs Tom Heintzman and Greg Kiessling. Established in 2004, this Canadian green energy start-up gradually expanded out from their Ontario roots and today bring green energy alternatives to commercial and residential customers from coast to coast. When green energy came knocking in Nova Scotia we were excited to sign up and take this critical next step along our path towards sustainability.
While it’s easy to overlook the small things, we know when you multiply small changes you can generate big results. Based on that we’ve implemented some things at Ascenta worth noting such as eco-transportation rebates for employees, eco-purchasing policies for food, office supplies, and electronics, community garbage sweeps, and eco-themed staff presentations. Last year Ascenta was recognised as one of Canada’s greenest workplaces.
The next big adventure for Ascenta will be a new facility slated for 2015. Building our new home is an exciting chance to ask ourselves “imagine if…?” While our imaginations may not represent what’s possible today, it will surely help us breakthrough the status quos and push the boundaries of what is possible.
As individuals as well as businesses, it’s important to remember that the brain and the heart have different reward systems. The brain’s reward system is primarily based on receiving while the heart’s reward system is primarily based on giving. Conventional businesses think with their brains. Socially oriented businesses think with their brains and act with their hearts.
On this Earth Day 2013 I want to express my deepest gratitude to the entire Ascenta team and to all our supporters. Without you none of this would be possible. We are excited about what’s to come and hope you come along for the journey.
If you want to be happy then chose to be happy. If you want to be successful then chose to be happy. If you want to make others happy then chose to be happy.
Today, on Earth Day, we are celebrating our amazing members who give back to our big blue planet everyday by supporting our nonprofit partners who are keeping our Planet beautiful.
We are thrilled to be jumping into our second decade of existence with our new Love Blue campaign. We encourage all of our members and nonprofits to check out our new brand guidelines and adopt the use of our new logos! Please get in touch if you have any questions about the Love Blue campaign, or want more information on how you can best use these materials- we’re here to chat!
Caudalie, a French natural skincare company who joined 1% for the Planet last year, has done a great job of showing how they Love Blue in this short film….
Hug On A Rug is a company created around one product and one idea. We designed and had manufactured a rug just for hugging. It is a little rug with a big purpose – healing the world one hug at a time. The rug is intended to serve as a reminder of our relationship to each other and to the planet we all share.
We at Hug On A Rug have a deep and abiding interest in the environment and the health of the planet that is home to us all. As folks hug each other they may be reminded that we are all in this together, breathing the same air and fishing in the same seas. This care for the environment led us to 1% For The Planet – a natural partnership!
Tom first wrote his senator asking for support for the first Wilderness Bill in 1960. Tom was 14. He is a founding member of the former High Peaks Audubon in the Adirondacks of NY and participated in three Breeding Bird Atlases. Jean has been a long-time supporter of wildlife through the National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife. It was she who designed the rug.
Our connection with Keeping Track began when Tom took Sue Morse’s (founder of Keeping Track) training nearly 10 years ago. He served for two years as a member of its board of directors. Keeping Track trains and educates both citizen scientists and professionals in methods of data collection that can lead to better decisions involving wildlife and land use. Sue’s efforts, along with those who work with her, have helped directly in the preservation of over 30,000 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat. We at Hug On A Rug will continue to support Keeping Track and it’s mission.
Huge thanks to Hug on a Rug‘s Tom Barber for sending us this story and for completing his 2012 certification early with support of Keeping Track. We’re so proud of our Vermont network- thanks for keeping it local Tom!
The following post was written by Paul DeCrette, owner of 1% for the Planet member BlueChannel. If you would like to share your giving story on our blog, please get in touch with Pauline.
My name is Paul DeCrette. Since 1998, I have run BlueChannel, a small web development and consulting firm. I enjoy my work, provide livable wages and good benefits to a few employees, and genuinely care about my clients. But I am not changing the world through programming or email support!
I moved the business to Colorado in 2000 to take advantage of our state’s beautiful and precious outdoor spaces. I wanted to spend time with my beautiful wife Nicole and raise my children in clean mountain air. When I took on Mick Jeanne – a long-time employee – as a co-owner a few years ago, we jointly acknowledged that the world is bigger than us and precious to us. We agreed to put some money where our environmental mouths are. After all, talk is cheap, but change is expensive! Good causes need financial support.
1% for the Planet is a good fit. It connects us with like-minded businesses and demands a simple, honest, and manageable annual giving goal – and one that changes as means change. “A portion of profits donated to charity,” or “10% of profits donated to this cause” is meaningless; any business owner knows profits can be manipulated by compensation and other accounting tricks. But when you donate a percentage of your gross sales as reported on your tax return, the number is concrete. For BlueChannel, this number, albeit small, was hard to swallow at first. It has since grown year over year, and now it is just built into our business model and lives. And while we would continue to give even if this was not true, the exposure we receive from our annual contributions has made this commitment financially worthwhile as well. Doing the right thing can pay.
Colorado Environmental Coalition has recently merged with Colorado Conservation Voters to become Conservation Colorado. Priorities include protecting public lands and wilderness areas – many of the same areas I have backpacked and skied. They also work to mitigate climate change and encourage pro-environmental legislation. Right now, they are active in trying to encourage rural Colorado utilities to increase their clean energy sources. Help the cause and take action to support SB 252 and related legislation today!
Republican, Democrat, or otherwise, you can’t do business on a dead planet. I encourage you to support an environmental cause, and if you need ideas, 1% for the Planet and Conservation Colorado are indeed worthy.
1% for the Planet member KOR is looking for your support in getting their newest water vessel on the shelves. After 18 months of development, they have created a solution for people who ‘only drink bottled water’. Their newest “Nava” vessel is a revolutionary filtering water bottle that will end the need for people to buy bottled water.
Support their Kickstarter campaign at the $35 level (or higher!) in the next thirty days and you will be sent one of these attractive bottles. They are not only BPA-free, but the filters are made from coconut shells- how cool is that?! Spread the word, and let’s get these bottles on the shelf!