1% for the Planet Certification: What the Label Means

1% for the Planet members fund environmental projects around the world.
Here's how it works.

Definition of 1% for the Planet
Definition of 1% for the Planet

Quick guide:

What is 1% for the Planet?

1% for the Planet is a certification for companies, brands, or products that commit at least 1% of their annual revenue to vetted environmental nonprofits.

The organization behind the certification program, also named 1% for the Planet, was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 2002. Among other things, Chouinard is famous for becoming a billionaire through the founding of Patagonia and then giving away his ownership of the company to fight climate change.

What does 1% for the Planet certify?

Here’s a breakdown of what certification looks like for each of the three membership categories:

  • Companies: This is the most all-inclusive category. By committing at least 1% of total annual revenue to environmental causes supported by 1% for the Planet, businesses can receive the right to display the 1% for the Planet label across their website, products, and services. As of the end of 2023, there are 5310 business-level members of 1% for the Planet.
  • Brands: Brand-level membership is narrower and caters to brands belonging to a larger corporate umbrella. These brands must commit 1% of the brand’s annual revenue to the organization. While the brand itself can use the 1% for the Planet logo freely, while its parent company is restricted from doing so unless it’s a member.
  • Products: At the product line level, the focus narrows even further to specific products or services. Here, members pledge 1% of the product revenue, which needs to be at least $2.5 million US dollars annually. Plus, the 1% for the Planet label is only allowed to be used for that specific product or service.

Where does the money go?

With over half a billion dollars given to environmental nonprofits since the founding of 1% for the Planet in 2002, you may be left wondering where all that money is going. Here’s where the environmental partners of 1% for the Planet come into play.

Environmental partners are nonprofit companies that carry through different sustainability-related projects. If a nonprofit hopes to receive funding from 1% for the Planet, it has to target one of four key areas of focus. According to the 2022 annual report, these are the rights to nature, resilient communities, conservation & restoration, and just economies.

Here’s what each of them entails in closer detail:

  1. Rights to Nature: Centered around the idea that all humans have equal rights to nature, projects within this scope can include renewable energy, land and water rights, community conservation, and nature access.
  2. Resilient Communities: Here, the focus is on empowering local communities, grassroots movements, eco-friendly cities, climate adaption, and environmental education. An example of a funded community-level project is the Louisiana Bucket Brigade.
  3. Conservation & Restoration: Focusing on preserving and rebuilding ecological structures, this category narrows in on four key targets: biodiversity and wildlife, freshwater habitats, land ecosystems, and marine environments.
  4. Just Economies: Projects attempting to ensure a just economy focus on providing sustainable livelihoods to people, managing production and consumption responsibly, food systems, and decarbonization.

Is 1% for the Planet trustworthy?

Yes, 1% for the Planet as a certification and organization is trustworthy. However, purchasing a product or service from a 1% for the Planet member means that 1% of the price tag will be going to a vetted environmental project. That’s all.

The organization does not certify the business practices of its members, nor does it assess corporate sustainability, so if you want to take it a step further, look also for the B Corp label. B Corp goes beyond the simple “paying tribute” system of 1% for the Planet.

Read Also: What is a B Corp?

Both of the two are trustworthy sustainability certifications targeted at for-profit companies. If you see a company with both of the two, you can rest assured that it is not only funding environmental causes but also maintaining ethical and sustainable business practices.