1% for the Planet was co-founded in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Craig Matthews of Blue Ribbon Flies. Through the organisation, businesses and individuals donate 1% of turnover or income to environmental charities.
Here at Grain — coincidentally also founded in 2002 — we have always wanted to give back to the planet. It took a few years for news of 1% for the Planet to cross the pond from the US, and we joined pretty much as soon as we heard about it, in 2008. Over the years, we have supported the Woodland Trust, Trees for Cities, the Marine Conservation Society, the Centre for Alternative Technology, TRAID, The Reef-World Foundation, tve’s Global Sustainability Film Awards, and 1% for the Planet itself.
In the autumn of 2019, Madelyn Postman was invited to join the newly-formed UK Steering Committee, together with 1% for the Planet representatives Ashley Weltz and Carla Fox, Harry Lyon-Smith of Illustration X, Fred Clarke of MOJU, Christopher Ramsay of Pelican Founders, and James Bidwell and Piotr Kowalczyk of Re_Set.
The group organised Zeitgeist, a ‘UK relaunch’ event, in January 2020 at The Conduit, featuring members Georgia Phillips of Pukka Herbs, Alex Beasley of Patagonia, and Bill Liao of nonprofit WeForest. About a hundred people attended: members, potential members, nonprofits, and the press.
Lockdown struck before we could organise the next in-person event. On April 21st 2020, the day before Earth Day, we hosted ‘Navigating our way towards a Plastic-Free Ocean’ with Emily Penn, who founded eXXpedition. Her organisation holds ‘all-female voyages exploring the impact of and solutions to plastic and toxic pollution in our ocean.’ Emily is a knowledgeable, inspiring, and enthusiastic speaker and she kept the audience entranced.
As the pandemic continued and we saw the impact of fewer planes in the air, the future of travel proved to be a popular topic. We invited Soraya Shattuck, founder of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund, and 1% for the Planet board member Kurt Weinsheimer of Sojern, which provides data-driven travel marketing solutions, to speak on ‘Sustainable travel and tourism beyond 2020’ on June 24th. Madelyn has written up the talk for the Real Sustainability blog.
To round out the events for 2020, on October 29th, Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain, Rebecca Wrigley, spoke about the nonprofit’s ambitions, projects, and the new branding and communications campaigns. She illustrated the benefits of rewilding, namely that it: draws down carbon from the atmosphere; helps wildlife adapt to climate change; reverses biodiversity loss; supports diversified economic opportunities; improves our health and wellbeing. The recording and write-up are on the 1% for the Planet website.
Beyond building profile for 1% for the Planet, a major aim of the Steering Committee is to build the member community in the UK. This year we set up a Slack account for the UK members, which is becoming more and more active. And in November we held the first monthly members’ social hour which was so well-received that more than one member said they’d like it to be daily rather than monthly! The event has built a virtuous circle, with members talking enthusiastically about their experiences both online and in person, which in turn raises profile and builds membership and community.
Of course, the ultimate aim of 1% for the Planet is to grow its membership and to increase support for environmental nonprofits. The UK started 2020 with about 200 total members, business and individual. Due in large part to the concerted efforts of the Steering Committee, there is a new pace of about 8-10 new members joining every fortnight — about one every working day. We’re closing out the year with astonishing growth, nearly doubling the numbers with just under 400 business and individual members. The UK is 1% for the Planet’s fastest-growing region. Bring on 2021!