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82: Kate Williams Discusses 1% For The Planet's Global Environmental Efforts

Guest Name(s): Kate Williams

Matt Matern speaks with Kate Williams, CEO of 1% For The Planet, who discusses the organization’s mission to have businesses donate 1% of sales to environmental nonprofits. Founded by Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard and Craig Matthews, it has certified $435 million in giving over 20 years.

Kate highlights the need for corporate responsibility, Patagonia’s purpose trust, and the Planet Impact Fund, which invests donations for climate impact. With 5,700 members and a goal of $1 billion in donations, Kate is optimistic about driving significant environmental impact.

1% for the Planet >>

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t all started when two businessmen met and bonded over their shared love for the outdoors. Realizing their responsibility to protect our planet, they decided to give 1% of their sales back to the environment—whether or not they were profitable. In 2002, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, created 1% for the Planet and started a global movement…
Kate Williams is CEO of 1% for the Planet, a global movement that inspires action and commitment so that our planet and future generations thrive. Kate joined the 1% for the Planet team in 2014 and stepped into her role as CEO in May 2015 with a strong leadership track record, including roles as Board Chair of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), as Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as founder of an agricultural business, and as an elected political official. She brings a deep passion for the power of collective action to all she does…
Kate Williams Discusses 1% For The Planet's Global Environmental Efforts
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You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host. I’ve got a great guest on the show today, Kate Williams, who works at 1% For The Planet, she’s the CEO. Kate, welcome to the show.

Thanks, psyched to have this conversation with you.

Okay, tell us a little bit about your background and and what brought you to where you’re at what brought you to the environmental movement and, and then to scale the heights of 1% For The Planet. All right, well, it’s good, you use the term scale heights, because actually, I came to all this drama, mountaineering experience that I had, actually, I had an aha moment, when I was about 18, I got to spend some time and some big mountains in Wyoming.

And it was basically like, hard and snowy and you know, everything kind of went wrong in a lot of ways. But it was an amazing experience for me, and I sort of on that trip had this moment of this is what I want to do. And the this was kind of the people it was with a group. So getting to lead and sort of work with people with real consequences. And you know, dealing with real challenges and wonderful highs as well.

And also the, you know, wild being in a wild space that I really just, you know, felt like it was powerful to connect to it. So all of that kind of fueled my career since then. And started out as an outdoor educator to connect other people to that experience, and then transitioned to environmental nonprofits and more leadership. And then that led me to 1% For The Planet ultimately.

So tell us a little bit about 1% For The Planet, and how did that came into being and what you do actually, at the foundation?

Yeah, so 1% of the planet was founded 20 years ago, sorry, 20th anniversary by Yvonne Shannara, who is the founder of Patagonia, and his buddy, Craig Matthews, who founded and ran a fly fishing shop in Montana.

And they were actually fishing in on the Madison River in Montana 20 years ago, and realize that the giving that they were doing by the at their companies was a really, they believed that that was a really important thing for companies to do to create, and protect those environments where in their case, their products were used, but much more broadly, and importantly, to sustain a healthy environment that is kind of the underpinning for any healthy economy.

So they created 1% For The Planet, as the movement builder for that idea that businesses have an obligation to give back to invest in the future. And so for the past 20 years, that’s what we’ve been doing. I started in 2014, and became 20, CEO and 2015. And basically, what we do is we engage companies all over the world, to become members by committing and then certifying that they are giving their 1%.

And that’s 1% of top line sales annually to environmental partners that we vet, and you know, select so it’s so super credible model and I can go into all sorts of details if you would like. But that’s that’s overall how it works.

Well, let’s, that’s great work. And I appreciate you engaging companies at that level, because I’m a firm believer that companies need to be a part of the solution. And, and I think in days of your, that companies were more engaged with their communities and, and I think that that’s really crucial to the entire problem set of problems being solved, like everybody needs to be engaged in this.

To the extent possible, it may be a small contribution or larger contribution depending on where you’re at in life. But I think everybody making some contribution is necessary to this endeavor being successful and saving our planet. So with that, I kind of I’m a big fan of the founder of your organization in in that I just recently was reading about how he is donating, I believe his whole company, Patagonia to environmental causes, which is really putting your money where your mouth is, maybe tell us a little bit about that and what it’s like to work with that kind of leadership.

Yeah, of course. Yeah. It’s, I mean, Yvonne has always been just such a great inspiration. And, you know, his philosophy and founding 1% For The Planet is that it’s not just philanthropy, it’s actually a cost of doing business. So 1% For The Planet, you know, it’s really all about moving your philanthropy into the core of your business. So you pay your rent, you pay your staff, you pay the planet.

And so that’s really a core tenet that Yvonne has held all along and founding 1% For The Planet and then certainly He’s run, Patagonia. And as you said, just recently, in September, Patagonia announced that they have transferred ownership of the company to purpose trust, meaning that the company is owned the assets of the company are owned, sort of 100% in service to the planet. And it’s a huge step, it’s a really exciting kind of model of company ownership that can be really, truly purpose driven.

And Patagonia has always had that mission, or they’ve always had a strong mission, they, they in the last five years or so updated it to be, you know, to save our home planet. And this is really sort of that next step. And on that like idea of steps, I would just say, that’s one of the things that we really see and believe in and 1% For The Planet is that taking a step sets you up to take the next step. So 1% For The Planet was really the first step that Patagonia to can we heard a great story of someone who received the first check probably 40 years ago before 1% For The Planet was even founded.

But that was a check given by that by Patagonia to an entity that really drove impact. And it’s carried forward from there to now, you know, Patagonia transitioning into this sort of 100% for purpose, mode. So it’s been super inspiring, and we really love that our members have the opportunity to, you know, know that they’re taking a really big first step, because 1% of sales, I will say, is not a small step, it’s a big deal for people to commit to that.

And it opens the door to so many connections and inspirations to, you know, do the next thing and explore other ways to drive impact through the through company.

So how much a is that now that you’re 1% For The Planet is generating through this model? And what, what’s the goal? And what could it be if if every company, say in the, in the US or on the planet? was contributing like this?

Yeah, that’s a great question. So just to scale it, where we are right now is we have about 5500 members globally. And to date, this year, we’ve certified about 65 million US dollars in giving and lifetime since 2002, we’ve certified about $435 million in giving. And for us growth equals impact. So we we are very focused on growing our network, both the size of our network, so the number of members, because we really do believe in building the movement and building the brand, because that was part of helping it to grow even further and to create that momentum, and growing the revenues total revenues of those members, because that’s the basis for the 1%.

So we want to see that for 135 million and lifetime giving go up and up at an accelerating rate. Because we really believe so much in the importance of that giving to our awesome environmental partners.

So where where do you see it going? What are your projections and kind of hopes, dreams? Imagination? Where’s this going?

Yeah, well, so that’s a really good question. And I can I’ll be brave and sort of give my like, you know, answer, which is that I’d like us to get to a billion dollars in, you know, the not too distant future. And lat two years ago, we were certifying just over 30 million and and giving. And two years later, we’re certifying more, you know, we’ve doubled that we’re certifying more than 60 million, will we be able to continue at that rate, you know, doubling every couple years?

I don’t know for sure. But we’re on track to you know, we’ve really been accelerating our giving so. So, you know, a billion and more. And, you know, one of the things that really motivates us is that currently only about 3% of total philanthropy goes to the environment. And that’s just not enough. And globally, less than 2% of total giving goes to climate.

And philanthropy plays a really important role. Some people hear those numbers and they say, Well, yeah, it’s because we need to be like investing in other ways. And yeah, we need to do a lot of things. But philanthropy can uniquely go where there’s not a market. And that’s the opportunity so businesses can operate where there’s a market and create resources.

And that’s what you know, our businesses are doing. And then we’re saying, Hey, here’s a great opportunity for you to expand your scale by allocating your 1% Outside of that market to nonprofits that are delivering on really important important mission work, where there is no market and so that’s that’s the opportunity and we really are committed to growing the amount of funding going to that important work.

Well, that that really is important. And I, you know, that’s kind of a mind boggling stat that only 3% of philanthropy is going to the environment, when you consider that the environmental crisis that we have is the is the existential crisis of our time. I mean, other crises are certainly important, but none of them will kind of make the planet uninhabitable for everybody.

So I think we need to be giving more in the, in the domain of the environment. So I appreciate your being bold and talking about doubling your, your revenues coming in from this, you know, I think maybe you need to be even bolder. I mean, why not? Why not? 1% Of a bigger pie. I mean, we, if we’re going to solve this problem, it’s going to take a lot of money in order to shift the, the trajectory of our economy, right.

100% Absolutely. And, you know, I think we know that we we get there by engaging people in a model that they feel that they can be a part of. So we are, you know, continuing to grow the scale of our membership, meaning the number of different members, we’re continuing to grow the size of members, we have more bigger members joining.

And that’s, you know, that’s a real opportunity, because 1%, excuse me, 1% of a bigger number is obviously big. And so like having companies join, when they’re already sort of multi million, $2 billion. Size, you know, that is a very big commitment. And so really setting ourselves up to do that, and we are doing that, which is great. One of the things that’s really compelling and indicates that there’s a ton of potential is where we already have membership across, I think it’s now 65 different sectors or industries.

And no more than 10% of our network is any in any one of those. So we’re not like heavily concentrated in just say, the outdoor space or, you know, just, you know, another space, we have businesses, we have services, we’re in health and beauty, we’re in food and beverage, we are in the outdoor space, but we’re also in, you know, district strategy firms and banks, and insurance.

So we really have that diversity and have a lot of opportunity to grow in each of those sectors. And we are now you know, investing in, you know, more capacity to sort of go out and, and pitch this opportunity to be part of our model to a wider variety of companies globally.

Well, that’s great. You’re listening to A Climate Change, my guest, Kate Williams for 1% For The Planet. We’ll be right back in just one minute to talk to Kate about where 1% For The Planet is going and how all of us can be a part of this process and be right back.

You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host, I’ve got Kate Williams, who was the CEO of 1% For The Planet on the program today. Kate, I was reading a little bit about your bio and stuff. And one of the things that you had said, which I thought was was good was preparing yourself for these opportunities, and then being open to what opportunities present themselves.

And that’s kind of how you ended up at 1% For The Planet. And I think that’s a great message, particularly for young people to that they should be preparing themselves for whatever opportunities and then keeping open to what those opportunities are. How, what, what is 1% For The Planet do in terms of making opportunities available for the young people in the community?

Oh, that’s such a good question. So I would answer it two levels, one in terms of ours, how we sort of staff and bring in interns because we create some opportunities, but then also how we organize our funding. So on the staff level, just like how we roll, we do have a really robust intern program. It’s a paid internship program and our team does an awesome job, I will say of creating really great clear roles in which our interns are doing very real work.

So you know, many of our interns are like, wow, this you know, it’s so cool that I get to, you know, not just kind of figuratively stuffing envelopes, I’m actually, you know, contributing to our We’re sort of vetting of nonprofits, I’m contributing to how we do our development research, you know, all kinds of interesting things. So, really great intern program, we have hired some of our interns over the years.

So, you know, it’s been a great way for us to bring young, up and comers into the work, and they’re awesome. They’re such, you know, such powerhouses. And then on the funding side, you know, we have such a diversity of environmental partners. So, you know, one of the things that we’ve done is, like, we try and stay really attuned to what are the different ways in which our environmental partners are driving impact, and one of the ways that, you know, a number of them are, is they’re engaging young people.

So like Earth guardians, for example, has amazing young people who are, you know, advocating and activating for change, and we’ve, you know, brought them to our global summit to kind of convey to the audience like, you know, youth today, which can, you know, sometimes get a bad rap in the general media, these are the amazing smart minds that are and and people who are activating for change. So, you know, definitely featuring that those young people in our network is an important way that we reach that.

Well, that’s great. I wanted to ask you something that you would kind of just raise, which is accountability for the companies that you’re that you’re working with that are some of your 5500 members, what what do you do to ensure accountability that they are in fact, giving 1% For The Planet?

Yeah, that’s great. I love that question. Because we love talking about this. So the way our model works, we are not a foundation in that we don’t take in all the money and distribute it. And that’s very intentional, for two main reasons. One is that we want maximum dollars going to the environmental partners, and if it passes through a kind of foundation entity, that’s just more friction on the money, so less is gonna get out there.

So we do take a small dues fee, that’s a portion of the 1%. But then the rest of the giving is going directly to the environmental partners, our team works very closely with both the member and the partners in developing the giving strategy. But when the time for giving comes when the Member has said, this is where I want to allocate my giving, or these are the partners that I want to give to, they give directly and what that’s the second reason, and that is that they are then able to be in direct partnership with the recipient.

And that’s awesome, because then not only are they giving money, but they have opportunities to, you know, get direct communication and stories from the nonprofit partner, they have the opportunity to if they want to arrange volunteer opportunities, and that’s a possibility. If that partner, they’re able to do that, and just to build a relationship. But you know, as you know, anytime you build a relationship they’re on in things that you could never have expected that are awesome that happen. And if we were in the middle, we would block some of that. So we facilitate that direct connection.

And then at the end of the year, each fiscal year for each member, we certify the giving, and it’s a rigorous, but hopefully simple process for all involved, basically, the members need to submit verification of their revenue. That’s the basis for the 1%. So we need to know what their top line revenue or sales is. And they have to submit a either tax return or accountant letter, some third party verification of revenue, and then donation, verification as well.

So that can be acknowledgement letters or receipts from the nonprofits. And then we essentially do the math and make sure they’ve given 1%. And that happens every year. And that’s, that’s a pretty big deal. Because as environmental issues have risen in the sort of general awareness, a lot of companies want to capitalize on that. And there is the risk of greenwashing of kind of saying you’re doing something that you’re not.

And our model is the opposite of greenwashing, because of this certification every single year to continue to be a member to continue to have a 1% logo members have to go through this certification process. And we really celebrate that and a lot of our members, you know, it’s, you know, no one really loves submitting paperwork, but it’s a it’s a real accomplishment. And it’s a you know, it is a cause for for celebration.

Well, that certainly is important because, yes, those of us who are, you know, looking at the wrappers of the various products that we buy to see whether or not somebody’s donating. There are lots of promises out there on packaging, saying, Hey, we donate to charity.

And yet, of course we don’t know if there’s not a verification, whether or not that promises being kept. There may be an intention to make some donation but we don’t know really where it’s going, and how much is being given. So I definitely see there’s value in here. Having your organization hold companies accountable to keep the promises that they’ve made to their to the consumers.

Ability is huge.. excuse me, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but the accountability partnership is a big part of what our members really appreciate.

So right, in terms of vetting nonprofits that you work with a how do you do that and be, say, if one of the 5500 members wants to donate to a nonprofit that’s not on your list of approved nonprofits? Can they still do that and get the, you know, certification that they’re giving 1% For The Planet?

Yeah, so we have on the on the nonprofit vetting side, we have eligibility guidelines that are, you know, available that nonprofits can review. And we don’t have an open application. So nonprofits come to us either through the recommendation of a member and I’ll talk about that in a minute or recommendation from staff, meaning we’ve done research based on a need.

And that’s just because the volume of applications that we would get, and the volume of nonprofits that wouldn’t then receive funding would be too high. So it works better if we have a process through which nonprofits are entering via a recommendation. And then we vet them through our eligibility guidelines, which are our environmental partners team has just updated, we use the UN Sustainable Development goals, as well as some of our own filters to create a really broad, rigorous definition of environment.

And I say rigorous in the sense of not tight, but more really thoughtful in terms of how we’re looking at places where in the past, something might have been ruled out as as not an environmental nonprofit. But now we’re really able to see how it is. And an example of that would be food banks. In the past, we saw those as a social mission orientation, as it’s become clear that food waste is a huge generator of co2 emissions.

Any food banks that are diverting food from the waste stream, are not only delivering on a social mission, but they’re also reducing carbon footprint. So we’ve brought those into our network. And, you know, I can give you plenty of examples like that, where we’re really in that intersectional space. So we go through our eligibility process.

And then if if nonprofits sort of make it through that, we bring them in, and there’s some different stages along the way. But, you know, basically, we make sure that they’re a fit in terms of that, like, if a company says, Hey, I’d love to give give to this nonprofit, and I don’t see them in your directory, we are able to have that recommendation made, and then we can vet them. And that’s often a really productive and, you know, great opportunity for new nonprofits to enter our network.

Because so often giving is happening locally. So if there’s a company in the UK and Ireland, that’s like, Hey, there’s this great local land trust, we may not know about it. But they’re able to make that recommendation, we’re able to vet them, bring them into our network, and then not only can that company, fund them, but they also become that eligible to other not 1% Of The Planet donation. So it’s a really, it’s a really nice opportunity.

Yeah, it’s great to get the word out as to what the really cutting edge nonprofits are, because sometimes the really small ones are doing some of the best work. And I’ve seen certainly seen that here on the ground. In Los Angeles, there’s a organization, we’ve worked with food finders talking about food waste, and they, they help redistribute a lot of wasted food.

And we just had a guest on the program last week and talking about how food waste, if it was a country would be the third largest emitter behind China and the US. So food waste, pretty important issue. Who knew? You know, we got to take care of making sure we don’t waste our food.

And that’s it’s pretty simple, but it’s it’s a gargantuan problem. Tell us about how big this list of nonprofits is that that 1% of the planet has developed.

And we have about 5,700 nonprofits, it roughly matches the size of our member network and the footprint geographic footprint because again, a lot of giving is happening locally. So it’s a good sized network.

Okay, well, and now you’ve distributed $435 million to these various 5700 nonprofits. That’s a great start. I’m going to ask you as we go into the break, where where do you see this headed? In terms of nonprofits, and what do you see as some of the real bright stars in doing the work and, and the amazing results that have come from your donations.

And I’ll be back in just one minute with Kate Williams, the CEO for 1% For The Planet.

You’re listening to A Climate Change, I’ve got to Kate Williams, CEO for 1% For The Planet on the show. Kate, we were just talking about some of the 5,700 nonprofits that your organization is funded. Can you tell us about some of the the amazing work that’s being done by these nonprofits?

Yeah, I mean, how many days do you have, because if you imagine 5500 members, many of them giving to more than one nonprofit every year, we have just literally, you know, 10s of 1000s of nonprofit partnerships happening every year. And they’re all really jaw droppingly amazing. So I can share a few examples. And you can certainly push me in different directions if you’re interested. You know, I was just a couple of weeks ago, in London, we did a regional event there.

And we had a few awesome nonprofits there. And I can just talk about them as an example of work being done. One was called Trash free trails. And they’re UK based, so pretty small nonprofit, but they do really amazing, interesting work, you know, not just like walking around picking up trash, but really sort of understanding where trash comes from understanding how to engage people in addressing trash more broadly. So that, you know, shifts from being kind of a light way of driving change to a more sort of comprehensive way of understanding the impacts of, of trash.

And then, you know, coming bringing, you know, impact to the environmental space from a very different angle was a nonprofit called bright green future. And they do amazing work with youth, they’re based in Bristol, and they engage young people in sort of understanding, you know, how they can be connected to and practitioners in the outdoors, as they sort of emerge from youth into adulthood. And really thoughtful work on sort of intersectionality and inclusion as part of that.

So really bringing some new voices and faces into the environmental movement. So, you know, those are two examples from the UK, we have, you know, large nonprofits in the US, like National Forest Foundation, who we have members support them, and they have a really strong, credible tree planting program. And so that’s, you know, often a really great way for members to sort of see really direct numerical impact tied to what they’re doing.

And one of the things we really appreciate about National Forest Foundation is they deliver tree planting in a way that’s really aligned with protecting watersheds, you know, building carbon sinks that are, you know, important for climate change. So it has like that broader impact framework. So I mean, truly, I could ramble on and on. So I’m not going to, but it’s it, what’s really cool to see is when we talk to a new member coming in, they may say, Yeah, you know, I’m really interested in ocean issues, you know, I and I know these nonprofits, and then we’re able to ask kind of a series of deeper and deeper questions, you know, what’s your, what’s the business problem that you’re trying to solve?

What’s the To what extent is this? Do you want this to tie to an employee engagement strategy? How important is it that it’s local versus global, and we ask all these questions and kind of create a matrix and then from there, we’re able to say, Hey, I know you were thinking this, but you might want to also think about this for you’re giving, and we’re able to introduce them to new partners, and, you know, kind of have this really awesome experience.

And we really don’t, you know, push people away from giving that they’ve already been doing, because a lot of times those relationships are really valuable, but we are able to sort of help them kind of expand their understanding of how philanthropy again, as I said earlier, it can be kind of at the center of their business strategy, not just some sidebar that you get to at the end of the year.

Well, that’s great, because I really see that engaging people throughout the organization is super valuable and that I believe that most everybody wants to contribute in one way, shape or form and that they’re just kind of stymied to a certain extent by not knowing or not being asked to contribute or not kind of having that conversation unfold and kind of what you’re describing is an unfolding of that conversation to let people know the resources that surround them because, you know, obviously all of us are busy in our day to day lives.

So we’re not necessarily having the ability to do the kinds of research that, that you’re you folks are doing to vet these organizations. And, and so it’s, it’s a great partnership to say, hey, we we bring this, these resources to you, and make it easier for you to engage as the employer or as the employees. So I would imagine there’s a fair amount of engagement downstream of the employees taking part in this isn’t my off the mark?

No, no, it’s a really, really great point. And, you know, I think you’re spot on and saying, you know, people are stymied, and people being like, the people who are running businesses and individuals, and we definitely have heard that and gotten that through our surveys, that one of the barriers to giving, you know, one of the reasons that you know, environmental giving, is that that 3% level is that people feel overwhelmed.

It’s like, oh, my gosh, so you know, climate change is this humongous thing that’s happening? How is my How is my donation going to make a difference? Where do I even give? How do I get started, like, I am just stuck, I can’t do anything. And I get that I know that feeling. And so what we really tried to do is break down the barriers and make it easier to do the right thing to give.

And so, you know, with our companies, we have a very sort of direct practice for doing that, that I described in terms of that like matrix of questions. And then, you know, we’re we have a very active social presence, and we engage individuals in our model, as well. And, you know, create ways for people to understand like, here’s, you know, were you Did you see the wildfires, and were you worried about those, here’s giving that is environmentally focused, that addresses, you know, wildfires at the core, or, you know, sometimes there’s that like disaster response, but sometimes just generally, like how to think about giving.

So we definitely are very focused on that issue of taking what is huge and a amorphous and overwhelming, which is the environment, and breaking it down into, like, here’s something you can do today. And then here’s something you can do tomorrow, and oh, it always feels better to do something as part of a community.

So why don’t you be part of this 1% Of The Planet community to take these steps, because then you have more power? And it works, you know, we definitely see people through leaning in and feeling like they’re getting clarity that they didn’t have?

Well, that’s great. Are there any other groups that are out there doing something similar to 1%? For the planet? Are you guys unique in this mission, we have a fairly unique sort of hold on this kind of membership model with businesses giving space, you know, some of our close partners who we you know, who we really admire, and, you know, love to have our companies also work with our the B Corp movement.

So these are companies that certify on some different metrics in terms of how they run their company. And it’s broader than just environment. It’s also, you know, kind of factors having to do with the structure of the business and the purpose of the business. And, you know, that’s a, that’s a model that, you know, is is complementary to what we do.

So we, you know, we appreciate that. And, you know, there are definitely some other sort of corporate philanthropy entities, but we’re the only, and the largest certification model for business philanthropy globally. And so we really work to, you know, just keep growing that. And what’s really nice is we’re not competitive with the 5700 nonprofits we’re working with, so we’re really able to come to them as true partners.

So even though some of them have models that aren’t dissimilar from ours, in the sense that there may be engaging businesses and types of work if we can get them more funding as part of our 1% model. Great. We love to do that. So it’s a really, it is a unique differentiated model, and it’s one that is inherently collaborative, which is really fun.

Well, that’s great. I guess I, I’m a fan of the model in terms of that. I believe that the more engagement we get and the more funds we get in the hands of people who are doing the good work on the ground, the better off we all are. So I just am concerned that it rolls out faster because we don’t have much time to just dawdle, unfortunately.

Yeah, I think that’s such an important point. And one thing that we’ve really seen in our model, which is awesome and speaks to that point is for a lot of our members, 1% becomes just part of what they’re doing that is kind of inspired by being part of our community.

So one of the things I haven’t really talked about is but that all of these members is 55 and growing Member 5500 and growing members ers are part of a community. And they see themselves as that and we engage them is that and they have like positive peer pressure on each other in the sense that a member joins, they certify their 1%.

But they also see Company ABC doing this, in addition and doing that, in addition, so they’re like, hey, maybe we should do that, or they may hear from their nonprofit partner. Love the money, but could you address this issue? So there’s a lot of really, there’s power in community. And so we see that accelerating impact.

Well, that’s, that’s fantastic. I guess I was gonna ask you, do you see, do you have many white professional companies such as lawyers, doctors, hospitals, things like that? are part of your 5500 members? Or? Or is it more sales of consumer goods and things like that?

We’ve definitely seen a growth in the service side in the last few years. So we do have lawyers, we do have less in the healthcare space for probably kind of understandable reasons. But you know, we do have some physical therapy outfits. But yeah, we have we are across the board.
So you can like clothe yourself from the skin out. You can get your insurance, you can do your banking, you can brush your teeth, you can eat food, all from 1% For The Planet, which is awesome.

Well, you’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host, and I’ve got Kate Williams, CEO, for 1% For The Planet. We’ll be right back in just one minute.

You’re listening to A Climate Change, this is Matt Matern, your host. I’ve got Kate Williams, CEO for 1% of the planet 1% For The Planet. And so okay, we were just talking about kind of the collaboration between the 5,500 members that that you’re working with? How does that look in real life? How, how are they working together and collaborating to kind of create maybe a network of companies that care about the environment?

It’s a great question. One of the things that we invested in during the pandemic is more virtual ways to connect. So we started doing what we call our global social hours. And it was really cool to see a how many people showed up for those, and be how much like in the chat like how much like, Hey, I’m gonna follow up with you afterwards, I want to learn how you handle this packaging question or whatever.

So in a lot of ways, we don’t always know all of the connections that are happening, because we really support our members in sort of connecting, you know, organically as they see fit just this past year, or in 2022, we launched a Slack channel for our members. And they’ve really been using that to engage with each other on, you know, different business problems, different giving opportunities, things they’re trying to solve for.

So we definitely see that and one like, really concrete example, I can give kind of how the network serves to make all everyone better kind of raises the boat is we had a member have a member sunsky They’re an awesome sunglasses brand. And they joined probably almost 10 years ago. Now they’ve been a member for a long time. And they joined just because they thought it was cool and awesome.

And who wouldn’t want to be in the same community that Yvonne Shannara founded. And, you know, so boom, they joined 1% For The Planet, and then they started doing their giving, and that the nonprofit they’re giving to, it’s like, Hey, we love getting this money from you, thank you so much. And there’s a lot of packet plastic in your packaging and in your classes. And so it’s like, okay, Message received. And then, you know, a couple years later, they had the opportunity to meet Yvonne.

And it’s like, Oh, great. We’re my 1% For The Planet members, too. And everyone’s like, awesome, so glad that you’re there. And hey, you have a lot of plastic in your packaging. And so, you know, they got sort of company and nonprofit positive pressure. And they took it to heart and they said, Okay, we’re awesome 1% For The Planet members. And now we’re going to take that next step to eliminate plastic from our packaging.

And they actually engineered a whole new sort of manufacturing process for their sunglasses using recycled plastic from another 1% Excuse me, 1% For The Planet brand. And so, you know, that’s a really concrete example of how the, you know, huge credit to them as a company just making those choices, but there was influence from the 1% For The Planet community that contributed to those really important changes.

So we continue to certify their 1% Giving but the community has kind of inspired and supported them to take next steps beyond that giving to drive even more positive impact on.

That’s a great story. I’m a firm believer in who you hang around with makes a big difference. So you know, if you’re hanging around with a good crowd, they tend to kind of elevate your game of bet. So tell us a little bit about the brand 1% For The Planet and what you’re doing to kind of expand the brand as you go forward.

Yeah, so we’re a nonprofit that probably thinks more about brands than a lot of nonprofits do. Because it’s a direct, there’s a direct link between the, you know, our brand, the brand awareness in the marketplace and impact in that as a model that is tied to 1% of sales or revenues, it matters that consumers know and trust the 1% For The Planet brand, because if they’re, you know, looking at products on the shelf, or online, or making a decision about their banking, or you know, any number of things, if 1% For The Planet, you know, helps them to tip toward a product that meets their desire to have their dollars Dr.

Solution, that’s awesome, because then they’re investing in a brand that’s making a good choice. And they’re increasing that sales and driving more impact. So we definitely lean into building our brand. And we have a strong brand we tested every year, we started just testing in the US. And then each year, we add additional countries based on you know, where we have the biggest footprint, and we now are testing and I think seven markets, the US the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia, maybe just six.

But we have, you know, strong brand awareness globally, you know, across those different markets, we’re kind of in the 30s, low 30s. For brand awareness, we’ve seen strong growth, we’ve grown about 160% and brand awareness over the last couple of years. And we have really strong purchase intent, meaning people not only recognize the brand, but those that recognize the brand, really want to purchase those products.

So, you know, we definitely lean into that. Because if we can make a good business case for being part of 1% For The Planet, we’re all for that if we have businesses that come to us and say I want to do the right thing, but it has to be good for my business, we’re like right on a course. And increasingly, we are able to sort of show the ways in which the 1% For The Planet brand helps companies to meet consumers where they are and where consumers are, is that a lot of them like, you know, depending on the specific studies, you’re looking at, like upwards of 90%, particularly of the younger generation.

So Gen X and Gen Z are saying we want our dollar colors that we’re using to buy stuff to be going to brands that are solutions oriented, that have credible practices to make sure that they’re driving solutions.

So you know, we’ve we really believe in the power of the brand to communicate that to consumers and help companies to see the business case for 1% For The Planet, in addition to the impact case, well, being utilitarian or being able to make utilitarian arguments are sometimes very helpful and being able to say, Hey, this is good for you. It’s not only just good for the planet, but you as a business will profit as well. is a is a strong and powerful pitch. How do you expand the value of your brand and brand awareness? What are your strategies for doing that?

Yeah, a couple of different things. One is we have a really awesome brand marketing team. So we have, you know, strong presence that we build. And what’s cool about the 1% For The Planet brand is our brand is the partnerships. So the stories we get to tell are the stories that I gave you just a little taste of about the giving partnerships that are happening about the ways in which our community is sort of bringing their giving to life. So we have a you know, strong presence around that.

And we also you know, will do sort of storytelling and information about issues that you know, our network is focusing on. We also equip our members to tell stories. So you know, all all members are using the logo, all members have the option to you know, place ads talking about their 1% For The Planet commitment. And we increasingly see when we get inquiries about membership, and we ask, you know, how did you learn about 1% For The Planet, increasingly, it’s from seeing the 1% For The Planet logo on other member products or services.

So, you know, the network of businesses is, you know, one of the primary influencers for the growth of the brand at the b2b level at the business level. And then also that sort of network effect of businesses, telling the story of their membership in reaching their consumers, you know, creates this really powerful network effect. And that is one thing sort of worth noting is that one of the things I really love about our brand is it’s a very distinct and strong brand as I’ve just shared, you know, our logo has really good awareness and recognition.

And so you know, members love don’t want to be affiliated with that. And it’s not competitive within the same industries, because each member differentiates on how they do their giving. So you may have, you know, two water bottle companies, for example, that are both members of 1% of the planet bearing the same logo.

And that unites them in a commitment that is recognizable to consumers. But then they differentiate in the ways that they would want to do as you know, kind of potential competitive products by, you know, having their own strategies for how they give in their own way of telling the stories about that. And so that’s a really powerful part of our model is it’s not like you’ll get one in each industry. And then that’s it. It’s, you know, it’s very much common but differentiated differentiable model.

Well, tell us a little bit about the planet Impact Fund, that 1% For The Planet has started and what does it do and where is it going? And how much is currently invested? And what are your goals and targets for the future?

Yeah, so the Planet Impact Fund is our is our latest and greatest innovation. And basically, it stemmed from your same question of like, how do we accelerate giving like, we want to do more, there’s urgency. So our 1% membership model is fundamentally incremental, 1% by 1%. And that’s awesome. And it’s growing a lot. And we love that.

And we wanted to create something that could live alongside that, but really accelerate in kind of create an exponential model for giving. So we created the planet Impact Fund, and basically the way it works. It’s in partnership with the National philanthropic trust and cap shift. And the way it works is that donors can make donations into the planet Impact Fund, they’re invested for positive climate impact. And then annually, 10% is granted.

So it really leverages philanthropy to drive investments and create a return of impact, essentially, because the return stay in the fund and then we’re granting annually. So you know, the opportunity there is it’s open to members and non members alike. And it just creates a powerful new way for us to leverage philanthropy to drive change.

Well, that’s fascinating. How much do you currently have in that fund?

It’s, it’s pretty brand new. So we have just over 100,000 in assets under management, so anyone who’s listening huge opportunity to help us get this up to scale.

Well, great work that you’re doing over at 1% For The Planet, and now the Planet Impact Fund. Kate Williams, CEO for 1% For The Planet. Thanks for being on the program and thanks for all the great work that you’re doing.

Thank you.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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