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Want to Help the Environment? Why 1% May Be All It Takes

1% for the Planet aims to effect environmental change by offering strategic giving recommendations to individuals and businesses. The one percent in the nonprofit’s name represents the portion of a business’ annual sales or an individual’s net worth or salary that they plan to donate to nonprofits that 1% for the Planet has identified.

A strategy for everyone

“The thing we always think about and a personal belief of mine is everyone has a one percent,” says 1% for the Planet’s CEO Kate Williams. “We work really closely with businesses to bring their one percent to life, so an actual thing that businesses can do today is give back to the environmental nonprofits that are creating change on the ground.”

Considering only three percent of nonprofit donations go toward environmental causes, that one percent can make a difference.

“It’s the smallest chunk of the philanthropy pie that goes toward our big, beautiful planet,” Williams says. “We’re trying to engage businesses and individuals in giving more because nonprofits play a really important role in driving a lot of change in terms of advocacy and addressing issues where there isn’t a market.”

These numbers matter

Companies that partner with 1% for the Planet receive a third-party donor certification, which can be good for more than just the environment, Williams says. She cites 2017 survey data from Cone Communications that revealed 87 percent of consumers reported they would purchase a product because a company advocated or invested in an issue they cared about. The number was even higher, at 91 percent, among millennials.

“These are huge numbers that companies need to pay attention to,” Williams says. “It really matters that companies are not just modifying their logo to look a little greener or changing their language; it ultimately needs to be real and authentic because consumers are savvy.”

When companies and individuals make the leap — as have the 1,800 members in the organization’s network — the results can have a domino effect. Business partners educate one another on sustainability practices, and consumers use their purchase power to increase their (and the certified companies’) donations to influential nonprofits.

“Stepping forward to giving that 1 percent is a powerful action,” Williams says.

Melinda Carstensen, [email protected]

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