This week I was fortunate enough to attend a panel event discussing sustainability for businesses and individuals in conjunction with 1% for the Planet hosted at Patagonia’s Sydney store. The event was an overwhelming success, a tight packed store full of conscious people networking and discussing sustainability – it’s eco events like this that show the strength of our industry. Although familiar with apparel industry leader Patagonia, surprisingly, I had not heard of 1% for the Planet. After attending the event, I’ve come to believe that everyone should be investing with this organisation not only to achieve present-day sustainability goals, but to preserve our natural environmental for future generations.
Like me, you’re probably already aware that Patagonia is one of the most forward-thinking apparel companies in terms of their commitment to eco measures, climate change and sustainability. And the brand named after and inspired by the scenic beauty of the South American region itself was instrumental in launching 1% for the Planet; it was launched after a six-month joint expedition to Patagonia in 1968 by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and North Face founder Douglas Tompkins. The inspiring journey captured in the documentary film 180 Degrees South.
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What is 1% for the Planet?
Essentially, 1% for the Planet is a global network of businesses, non-profits and individuals working together to implement sustainable environmental practices through a membership whereby members commit to investing 1% of their salary or business sales with the organisation which will then be used to fund environment-focussed projects through aligned charities and organisations. Now 1% may not seem like much, but for businesses, this 1% is a strong commitment as it is a percentage of sales and not profits. According to the organisation, only 3% of global philanthropy is directed towards environmental causes so individuals and businesses making a commitment to 1% for the Planet will be helping to increase global activities to preserve natural resources.
Presence in Australia
It was clear to everyone in the room that the vision for 1% for the Planet had not strayed from the original founders’ values. Chief Operating Officer Jon Cocina flew in from the US to educate and discuss with the panel the importance of building the organisation’s presence in Australia.
“We’re so inspired by the growth and engagement of the 1% for the Planet network in Australia and it was amazing to see this come to life at the event,” said Cocina.
Australian Country Director for Patagonia, Dane O’Shanassy, said that the organisation is one of the simplest and effective ways for a business to make a commitment to evoke positive change and begin to reverse our environmental impact.
In Australia, some of the non-profit partners that 1% for the Planet directs funds to include environmental organisations Take 3, The Wilderness Society, Clean Up Australia and 1 Million Women.
On the panel at the Sydney event, there were a diverse range of speakers that provided great transparency and insight into their businesses; Shannon Bourke, Environmental and Social Initiatives Manager for Patagonia, Stuart Palmer, Head of Ethics for Australian Ethical, Simone Awramenko, Thrivability Manager of Koala and Abigail Forsyth, Founder of KeepCup.
I was in complete awe of Patagonia’s Shannon Bourke and her knowledge of the industry and how she and the Patagonia team are continuing to push the boundaries of sustainability in their business. If I wasn’t against consumption for consumption’s sake I would request every single person buy a Patagonia tee (although if you need one, well I say, go right ahead!).
That 1% for the Planet is a scalable process that allows both big and small businesses and individuals to give back is what inclusive capitalism is made of. For those who decide to become a member, they have the choice of deciding where their investment goes and have the opportunity to form a strong relationship with causes that align with their own or their brand’s credibility. To date, the organisation has donated US$200 million to nonprofits and counts more than 1,800 businesses and hundreds of individual members in more than 60 countries as members.
To become a 1% for the Planet member, visit onepercentfortheplanet.org.
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Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess received an exclusive invite to the 1% for the Planet event in Sydney. All opinions expressed are the writer’s own. To read more about our policies, click here.