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“What are we really doing to fight climate change?”

This question was posed to us by a team member at our last staff retreat—and it really challenged us to pause and reflect on the answer.

While Be the Change Group was created to help solve some of the most complex problems of our time—including access to education, equitable health care, and climate change—in the last two to three years, our work has naturally concentrated in the health and education sectors. While we continually strive to keep our day-to-day operations environmentally sustainable, we realized that what our team was really asking was “Can we do more?” The answer was, emphatically, yes. We can do better, and we can do more.  

Like many impact-driven organizations, it’s important for us to be accountable for what we say—and that means putting action behind our words. This moment was the nudge we needed to reconnect with our values, reflect on our role in the climate action movement, and explore opportunities to level up our impact. So, after much contemplation, research, and discussion, we’ve decided to join 1% for the Planet. Here, we’re going to explain what that means, and why we’ve chosen this route to amplify our organizational impact. If you’ve ever wondered what that “1%” logo is all about, or you’ve been thinking about becoming a member yourself, we have some answers for you.

What is 1% for the Planet?

"We are a network that doesn't ask for permission to leave the planet better than we found it." - Quote from 1% for the planet
Image supplied by 1% for the Planet.

The concept of 1% for the Planet is pretty simple—which is one of the things we liked about this global movement. Essentially, by paying a membership fee and joining this international group, we commit to donate 1% of our annual sales to environmental organizations that are addressing issues related to climate change. We also have the option of choosing to make half our donations monetarily, with the other half being in-kind donations, employee volunteer time, or 1% for the Planet advertising donations. 

1% for the Planet gives us a list of eligible groups, or “environmental partners”, that the organization has pre-vetted—so we know they’re legitimate. These organizations run the gamut, making traction on everything from ecosystem preservation to forest fire prevention, and the money we donate goes directly to them. Members can choose to support one organization or many—local or global. And you can select the causes that most resonate with you.

Why did we choose to join the 1%?

Finding the right climate action initiative to support was a little difficult—doing the due diligence to ensure an organization is having a real impact can be daunting and time consuming. We’d noticed that brands and organizations we admired had the 1% logo, and when we looked into it, we loved the idea that our donations would go directly to pre-vetted environmental partners that are making a real difference in the world. 

"All together for the planet". – Quote from 1% for the Planet
Image supplied by 1% for the Planet.

It also was an obvious choice for us when we saw that one of the founders of 1% for the Planet is Yvon Chouinard, also the founder of Patagonia—who remains a hero of ours because of the way he built a company, culture, and brand that resonates with core values like integrity, environmentalism, and justice. 

Beyond that, joining 1% for the Planet made sense for Be the Change Group because it allows us to:

Live our purpose. Climate change is something that our entire organization genuinely cares about, and it’s one of the sectors we work in. We all want to do more to take meaningful action on this crisis, and joining 1% for the Planet is one way we can make sure we are living our value of sustainability.

Engage employees. Our team is a passionate bunch—they chose to join our organization because they want to make a real difference in the world. Not only does 1% for the Planet allow our organization to do that, but it also affords us an opportunity to get our team involved. We plan to do this by giving each employee a portion of our donation to allocate to a cause that resonates with them.

Grow our impact. There’s no guidebook to being an impact-driven organization. To make sure we’re constantly learning and making the greatest impact we can, we need to surround ourselves with like-minded leaders. Being a part of the 1% community will give us access to a vast impact network—much like when we became part of the B Corp community—and we plan to connect with and learn from our fellow members moving forward, including at the upcoming summit in San Diego in October. 

Be the Change Group’s Communications Designer, Nuel (left), and our Digital Project Coordinator, Barkha (right) in a user engagement session, laughing.
Be the Change Group’s Communications Designer, Nuel (left), and our Digital Project Coordinator, Barkha (right) in a user engagement session.

Is joining 1% for the Planet right for you?

Becoming a 1% for the Planet member isn’t for everyone. Committing 1% of your sales to a philanthropic cause is a big step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. That said, for our organization, we felt it was a valuable investment—one that will make it a little easier to answer the question “What are you doing to fight climate change?” moving forward.

As we progress along this journey, we’ll be sure to provide updates to let you know how it’s going and shine a spotlight on the different organizations we choose to support. In the meantime, if you have any questions about 1% for the Planet, feel free to send us a note. We’d love to chat!

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