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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.