1% For the Planet Program: Network with Like-Minded Businesses

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In 2002, Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Craig Mathews started the 1% for the Planet Program as a way of bringing together companies that want to help the environment and help other companies do the same.  Its mission is to “build and support an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.”  Member companies range from large corporate entities to small non-profits all over the world.

The title ‘1% for the Planet’ came from Patagonia’s original business policy to contribute 1% of all sales to environmental organizations. Since 1985, the 1,486 members of ‘1% for the Planet’ have each contributed 1% of their total sales to over 2,000 unique environmental organizations every single year. The interactive map on the organization’s web landing page shows you exactly which countries are contributing and how many businesses in that country are involved.

Why Should Businesses Consider Membership?

The network of environmental organizations is currently at 2,919 and the program encourages members to learn and network with other participating businesses.

There’s even a series of brown bag video lunches which are informative and inspiring.  A recent brown bag lunch was hosted by Woody Tasch, founder and president of Slow Money.  Slow Money is a nonprofit which connects investors to their local economies, thereby creating more sustainability within the local arena.  The Slow Money team is working to a establish a ‘nurture capital industry.’  Believe it or not, investing locally is not as straightforward as you might think.  Take retirement accounts.  When we are saving money for retirement, it is typically teleported into a global capital market that shuffles around 3 trillion dollars every day. Imagine the possibilities when that money can be put to work on a local level.

Or, there are live conferences organized for businesses to attend.  A recent conference was one on “Patagonia’s Tools for Grassroots Activists.”  It was a five-day event spent with individuals from all lines of work, including: film and entertainment, economics, business, technology, education, government, and grassroots activism.  Every sector was represented and every sector had a unique ‘1% for the Planet’ success story to share. It was clearly a reinvigorating and inspiring event.  One that any company which chooses to become a ‘1% for the Planet’ company can participate in.

Member companies re-enforce a positive perception of their brand, adding value that can result in greater customer loyalty and an increased customer base, especially among the growing number of people who recognize and appreciate the importance of environmental responsibility.

One solution to the current economic crisis was posed by environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author Paul Hawken was this; “If we imitate natural systems in our economy, we will create more well-paying jobs for people.”  

To become eligible for ‘1% for the Planet funds,’ an organization must be committed to sustainability and eco-friendly practices.  It also must have active 501c3  status with the U.S. IRS or its equivalent international status.  The application is online for any interested for profit or non-profit businesses.

The benefits of this program are numerous.  Yvon Chouinard says that; “Everytime I’ve done the right thing for the environment, I’ve made a profit.”  The branding benefits for businesses are substantial with its networking opportunities, value added to company branding itself (which is shown to increase customer loyalty), and it is a noble commitment to make.


Pattie Kettle from The Content Writing People is a high quality/professional/high volume writer for all things web! She enjoys PR and Marketing work –  and is a cleanweb advocate for the masses. She lives in Denver, CO. You can find her on Twitter @PattieContent


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