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Every day is Earth Day: why we give through 1% for the Planet

Carolyn McMaster | April 21, 2021

SF Baykeeper's drone with Field Investigator Cole Burchiel at the controls. Photo by Robb Most/SF Baykeeper.

This Earth Day, we’re pleased to announce that we’re giving our annual 1% for the Planet donation to San Francisco Baykeeper, as we have since 2011. This scrappy organization keeps impressing us by making an outsized impact on a lean budget, using science, advocacy, policy and the law to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper has been holding Bay polluters accountable and advocating for a healther Bay for more than 30 years. Examples of recent successes are reinstating U.S. Clean Water Act protections for Cargill’s the Redwood City Salt Ponds; convincing the Coast Guard to reduce heavy metals and other pollutants from its Yerba Buena Island facility; and closing a regulatory loophole so the waste from a West Oakland metal shredding company is now considered hazardous waste.

And last summer saw the launch of Baykeeper’s drone patrol program, which lets them get a seagull’s-eye-view of potential polluters—businesses that sometimes have put up barriers to block the view from the water. (Also, drone patrols are naturally socially distant.)

Baykeeper’s impact is compounded because they advocate for policy change and challenge the status quo. And Baykeeper is relatively small, so our donation truly makes a difference, and local, so we’re supporting our community. Plus, San Francisco Bay is not merely an icon, it’s also gives the region vitality and affects business health and quality of life.

1% donations total more than $265 million

And why do we give through 1% for the Planet? (Glad you asked!) We’ve loved this organization from the moment we heard about it. When we joined in 2010, we knew we wanted to give to environmental organizations, and the chance to join a movement at the same time was irresistible. It’s been extremely satisfying to watch the growth of this global alliance of businesses that give 1% of their revenue to environmental nonprofits. When we joined, giving totaled a little more than $50 million; now it’s over $265 million. More than 3,400 member companies have given to thousands of nonprofits in 64 countries.

Just as important, the certification requirement ensures that we act on our good intentions. It allows us to make the public statement, along with fellow members, that businesses should make a contribution to preserving and restoring the resources that contribute to their success. And it shows they can afford to do so—regardless of their size.

Naturally, we think showing off the blue 1% globe gives us makes us stand out.We know it makes clients feel good about working with us and attracts creative, passionate 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 old 1% for the Planet call to action: “Keep earth in business.”

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