UK joins the global business alliance fighting for a healthier planet

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Global movement 1% for the Planet was last night formally introduced to the UK, and a special event saw a host of influential changemakers emphasise the importance of turning business into a force for good.

The organisation’s CEO, Kate Williams, Surfers Against Sewage CEO Hugo Tagholm and founder director of Forum for the Future Jonathon Porritt all spoke in an evening of discussion about a global movement of companies donating at least 1 per cent of their turnover to achieve positive environmental change.

Ambition is in no short supply when it comes to the aims of 1% for the Planet. The organisation is a global movement of companies donating at least 1% of their annual turnover to environmental organisations worldwide. 1% for the Planet’s mission is to build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.

Although growing in the US, the idea of connecting businesses, consumers, and non-profits together for positive change in this way is new in the UK.

Launched in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, former owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, the network consists of more than 1100 member companies and thousands of approved nonprofit partners in more than 40 countries.

As the non profit approaches its 10-year anniversary, more than $145 million have so far been invested in positive environmental change by 1% for the Planet’s member companies.

“We consistently see that there is an amazing power in coming together,” said 1% CEO Kate Williams.

“At 1% for the Planet we are all about partnerships – companies giving directly to non profits, we certify the giving but the money doesn’t pass through us, a really important part of that is that the companies connect with the non profits, they work together and then lasting relationships are built.”

One of the latest partnerships comes from UK-based Pukka Herbs which has pledged to donate 1 per cent of its revenues to environmental non-profit organisations. The Bristol based organic tea and health supplement providers join the likes of Patagonia and Terrafiniti by signing up to the pledge.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pukka Herbs to our global movement of business giving back to the planet,” Williams said.

“We are committed to growing globally in the UK and beyond, and having strong partners like Pukka will be a key component of our long term success.”

Pukka founders Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell were both present at the event and spoke of the importance of sustainability in the Pukka supply chain and the potential for business ago be positive force for change.

“I feel that at Pukka we’re here to help create change. We may not be able to do it all ourselves  If we can can help to ‘bug’ larger companies which have become wealthy of the planet and haven’t thought about the long term implications of that, If we can help society think about embodying cost earlier on in the cost change so that we pay now rather then for later generations then I think that we have a better chance and tackling the issue of climate change.”

“The only choice we have is to make the changes we want ourselves.”

Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future spoke of the the role of business in trying to make sense of our troubled and chaotic world.

“I used to be uncomfortable about discussing the role of business for it wasn’t a positive story to tell,” Porritt said.

“Since we founded Forum for the Future in 1996, I have seen the story get better and better – the importance of the business contribution towards the climate change agenda is enormous and is more important today then it ever has been before.”

Porritt praised the ambition of initiatives like 1% for the Planet and said that this level of ambition is key in serving as  catalyst for change and moves for climate action.

“The ambition level of companies keeps rising, because once they have seen the evidence of the negative effects of climate change business unlike politicians cannot turn away from the problem at hand and ignore the data, business cannot really do that – for them it is clear that the basis on which they function is dependent on a healthy working planet you don’t prosper as a business when the life support system on which we all really are failing.”

Find out more about 1% for the Planet at onepercentfortheplanet.org and join the conversation with #giveback. 

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Photo Credit: Michael Coté from Flickr

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  • http://www.ecosapiens.co.uk Andy Middleton

    1% for the Planet has been part of the UK business for good ecosystem for over 10 years, and hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised for environmental changes as a result. @TYFAdventure alone donated more than £40k; as we shifted our business model, we dropped our 1% membership to focus on maximising impact through our own projects. It’s great to see more businesses signing up, and I hope that thousands more do.