The last few weeks have been very busy here on the first floor of our Vermont office. Kerry has been receiving TONS of certification materials, we have been welcoming Jon as our new Manager of Member Services, while Brodie is focusing more of his time on new member acquisition, we have been getting ready to bid farewell to Andy who is headed up to Alaska for the summer and I’ve been Tweeting and blog-posting up a storm! We have been receiving tons of partnership stories from our awesome members who have completed their 2012 certification on time – and I’ve been working hard to get these stories onto your screen.
While sitting in the office working on all of these tasks, I’ve been able to learn about what motivates our members to give. It has been amazing to hear from both our tiniest and largest member companies. Today, I had the pleasure to assist Mamma Chia in completing their 2012 certification.
Since joining 1% for the Planet in 2010, Mamma Chia has directed most of their support to Slow Money, along with some to Slow Food USA. Two members of our staff, Trina and Rebecca were lucky enough to attend the Slow Money National Gathering which took place in Boulder, CO over the last few days. We love the work that Slow Money does and were proud sponsors of this event. Trina just shared these kind words from the event:
Janie Hoffman of Mamma Chia has just given a speech at the Slow Money National Gathering in Boulder. In introducing her, Woody Tasch, founder of Slow Money, has mentioned Mamma Chia’s 1% for the Planet membership and its incredible generosity several times – to great applause. Janie, herself, spoke of her 1% for the Planet membership with pride. Finally, Michael Bartner, of Slow Money, when thanking sponsors of the National Gathering, mentioned Rebecca Callahan Klein and myself in saying that Slow Money was “honored to have 1% for the Planet as a partner.”
There were about 500 people in the audience in the Boulder Theater. The talks and presentations have been terrific and the audience is deeply engaged in all aspects of sustainable agriculture and engaging fully with a holistic approach to food and living. Cheers, Trina
We are so appreciative of Janie & Mamma Chia’s support and we look forward to seeing where else this partnership will lead us!
The following post was sent to us from Maxwell Ryan, the CEO and Founder of Apartment Therapy, who has been a longtime member of 1% for the Planet. We would like to thank Maxwell for sharing his story with us, and for ‘saving the world, one room at a time’!
As soon as I finished Yvon’s book “Let My People Go Surfing” six years ago, I signed my company, Apartment Therapy Media, up for 1% right away. At the time, our revenues were pretty small, giving 1% was easy and we asked our readers to suggest who we should donate to. I saw it as a great was to publicly involve our audience in our participation with this very good cause.
Each year our revenues grew steadily and two years in I was at a fund raiser near my house for the Peconic Land Trust and they were looking to raise a big sum from the event, $10,000. I realized then that if I directed all of our 1% giving to the Peconic Land Trust, we could do some really significant help and the results of it would be immediately visible. I was also really drawn to the opportunity of having an ongoing, personal relationship with the organization my company was helping.
As of this past year, we are giving about $25,000 annually to the Peconic Land Trust and have become the biggest source of funding for their CSA Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, NY, which also acts as their marketing arm in the Hamptons. They are the largest source of land preservation on Long Island and one of the leading land preservation trusts in the United States.
The farm and the Trust are now deeply thankful for the support my company provides, and have invited me to talk about 1% at a number of their fund raising gatherings because company support is not something that people think about, and 1% is not a widely known vehicle for doing it.
I love it because my personal and company mission are now totally aligned in an ongoing relationship that enlarges our circle and allows us to say that we really put our money where our mouth is.
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!)
Making the 1% commitment with your business is about more than growing the bottom line; it’s about investing in a world that you want to live in. With each donation, our members are helping to create a more sustainable world that our children and grandchildren will get to enjoy. Two of the most recent businesses to make this pledge are EcoTaxFile and Ozone Global.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, EcoTaxFile provides personalized accounting services to businesses and individuals who want exemplary accounting services combined combined with environmental assessments. The experienced tax professionals will maximize your tax refund and take the stress out of tax time – all while providing advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably.
You can use EcoTaxFile’s Free carbon calculator to discover the impact of your carbon footprint and get a personalized EcoReport with over 150 sustainability tips.
EcoTaxFile: Accounting that can change your life.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s well worth taking the time to take a look at this free tool. You might be amazed at your own footprint and the suggestions provided to minimize your impact. Thanks EcoTaxFile for making this available and welcome!
Australia based Ozone Global invests in a variety of business sectors / environments throughout the world with a focus on working together with people and their vision. They especially enjoy being involved from the ground floor up with new and exciting business ideas, until such stage that the founders are able to take their vision and business model to the table of a larger audience.
What inspired Ozone Global to join 1% for the Planet was no doubt the same reason that inspired many others to join. To stand up and do something positive to Protect the Planet for future generations. According to the owner, “this really hit home last winter when my 7-year old Daughter was sitting in in a cold room and shivering with the heating turned off. When I asked her why she doesn’t turn on the heat she answered, if I turn on the heater the planet it will get too hot and the Polar Bears home will melt. I felt ashamed to be a so called grown up. Why does a 7 year old get it and the educated world doesn’t. From this point forward I start a new road to Respect & Protect Our Planet and promote this in all areas of my life.”
Sometimes inspiration comes form the least expected places. We’re thrilled to have Ozone Global in the network!
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.
When funds are limited and challenges are great, environmental nonprofits must find innovative solutions to solve global issues. One of 1% for the Planet’s newest partners, Organic Perspectives, is working diligently to promote environmental sustainability in Uganda. Organic Perspectives protects the environment, promotes food security, and helps to enhance smallholder farmers’ incomes through sustainable and economically-viable agriculture. Most recently, the organization is promoting responsible eco-tourism in the region as a means to fund these important efforts.
Over the last few decades, deforestation has produced widespread land degradation in most of Uganda’s rural areas. As an effect, smallholder farmers in the countryside face a series of social and environmental challenges including nutrient depleted soils and a sharp decline in fuel wood—the only source of household energy for cooking and heating.
Since 2007, Organic Perspectiveshas used a ‘three-pronged’ approach integrating community forestry, sustainable household energy, and organic gardening to help farmers in the heavily deforested areas of the Kamuli and Buyende districts. The approach is intended toreverse deforestation through agroforestry and cleaner alternative fuels, and to implement more resilient organic agricultural practices.
Collaboration & Success:
- In collaboration with our key partner ‘Trees for the Future’ (USA), Organic Perspectives has provided over 200,000 free saplings of multipurpose, fast-growing leguminous trees
- Over 700 households have planted trees from our community nurseries
- Agroforestry training is being provided to more than 30 schools
- Over 100 households have acquired a fixed dome biogas digester
- 200 more efficient, cleaner burning woodstoves have been disseminated with the help of Envirofit International
- The two current target districts are categorized by Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development as being among the 10 most deforested (charcoal producing) regions out of 112 districts in Uganda.
- Rural farmers in Uganda depend on subsistence agriculture. With the degradation of soils, agricultural production is continuing to decline—constraining incomes and causing frequent food shortages.
How can Eco-tourism help:
In response to growing challenges, Organic Perspectives recently launched ‘EcoTours & Travel Uganda’ specifically for the purpose of involving travelers in expanding our work. Uganda’s tourism industry is directly dependent on our planet’s natural resources—and, as such, travelers are key stakeholders in environmental sustainability.
- EcoTours & Travel Uganda is developing a ‘Travel CO2 Offsets’ initiative designed to create personal, real-life connections between travelers and environmental causes in the local destinations they are visiting.
- EcoTours & Travel Uganda will enable Organic Perspectives to scale its much-needed efforts faster. Programs like the “Sustainability Travelers’ Trip” will take eco-minded travelers to Uganda’s little-discovered natural places for the purpose of promoting ecotourism in these areas and reflecting on the challenges to local ecosystems. Proceeds will be used in our reforestation efforts.
Call to Action
You can learn about Organic Perspectives here and donate through GlobalGiving or using additional donation options on the website. Donations will be used primarily for creating new Community Reforestation Centers, as these will become hubs for informing farmers about Organic Perspectives overall work.
In the long-run, Organic Perspectives hopes to use the passion of Uganda’s travel industry to promote environmental sustainability. Through this innovative approach, they will be able to restore forests, create a more sustainable food system, and transition local households to healthier, more environmentally sensitive sources of fuel.
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….