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‘Keep Earth In Business’: How Business Can Benefit Profits And The Planet

October 2, 2009

Business and the environment rarely go hand in hand. Businesses often chase profits, while the environment may be collateral damage. But businesses cannot grow and sustain themselves if the planet is headed for destruction. So in the spirit of committing to better stewardship of the earth, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies began a network for businesses to give 1% of their gross profits back to the planet and to ‘Keep Earth In Business’ as they cleverly say. They call it 1% For The Planet. 1 percent for the planet

Member companies such as breweries, cosmetics companies, architecture firms, veterinary practices, and coffee roasters contribute the profits directly to any environmental organization on 1% FTP’s website. This interaction between business and non-profit makes the giving more personal, and hopefully forms a relationship between the two parties. With over 1,800 environmental non-profits around the world, I would think one of the hardest choices would be which organization to give to.

What I think is so great about this organization is that businesses have a concrete basis to say that they are indeed ‘green’ or helping the environment. It can be frustrating to look at a company’s packaging that says they are giving back, but then refusing to tell you how much or to whom. When a business joins 1% FTP, consumers have more assurance that a portion of their purchase will be helping the world. And obviously when consumers can believe that businesses are transparent and doing the right thing, the business benefits. Since its inception, 1% For The Planet has helped over $42 million in donations go to environmental non-profits. Amazing!

1% FTP is putting together a documentary film to be released soon, but in the meantime they have a pre-release clip up on youtube:

So as a consumer, look for the 1% FTP logo and if some of your favorite businesses are not members yet, encourage them to join. Spread the word that doing good for the planet can benefit the bottom line, and that business and the environment can sustain each other.

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