sustainable business, Thinkshift news

Keep Earth in business? We like the idea

Sandra Stewart | April 9, 2013

We recently renewed our 1% for the Planet certification, and it’s exciting to see this global alliance of businesses that give one percent of their yearly revenues to environmental nonprofits continue to grow: when we joined in early 2010 total giving (2002 to 2009) had just surpassed $50 million; now it’s surpassed $100 million.

We loved the idea of 1% for the Planet from the moment we found out about it. We wanted to give to environmental organizations and thought that we should; the opportunity to join a movement at the same time was irresistible. Why?

Becoming a 1% for the Planet member holds us to our commitment—the yearly certification requirement (members have to submit tax documents and proof of donations) ensures that we act on our good intentions. Just as important, it allows us to make a public statement, along with fellow members, that businesses should make a contribution to preserving and restoring the resources that contribute to our success. Just as important, it shows they can afford to do so—regardless of their size.

Size is something we considered with our donation—we wanted to give to a smaller organization so our support would feel meaningful. We also wanted to give to an organization working in our community and doing advocacy work that challenges the status quo. San Francisco Baykeeper, a scrappy organization that makes an outsized impact with a lean budget, fit our criteria so well we’ve been happy to support them year after year. (See more on our selection process here.)

Naturally, we also thought we might get a marketing boost from adding the blue 1% globe to our website and other materials. We wanted to gain a slight edge with prospective clients in our sustainability-focused target market, make current clients feel that much better about working with us and attract creative people to work for us.

Honestly, though, our greatest hope is that so many other businesses join the 1% alliance that the logo ceases to be a differentiator. That would mean we’re making real progress on achieving the 1% for the Planet call to action: “Keep earth in business.”


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