One Percent for the Planet (1% for the Planet) is a left-of-center environmentalist organization founded by the founder of outdoor clothing company Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard. The organization attempts to create partnerships between companies and environmentalist nonprofits. It allows companies to use its logo on their products, showing that they give to support environmentalist policy and conservation efforts, if they pay a yearly subscription and pledge to donate at least one percent of their sales to environmentalist causes. It claims 1,200 corporate subscribers, with nonprofit partners in 60 countries.
In 2002, Chouinard co-founded One Percent for the Planet with Blue Ribbon Files founder Craig Matthews. Beginning in the late 1980s, Chouinard used Patagonia’s revenues to fund environmentalist groups on the far left. At that time, environmentalist Doug Peacock contributed regularly to his company catalog, which many at the time read like a magazine. Peacock was a close associate of controversial environmentalist anarchist Edward Abbey; Peacock would bury Abbey in an unmarked grave after Abbey died. Peacock’s sections in the catalog remained relatively noncontroversial, and Patagonia passed itself off as advocating mainstream conservation rather than radical environmentalism of Abbey.
Patagonia originally gave 10 percent of its profits to environmentalist causes, but Chouinard later amended the contribution to one percent of total sales. He characterized the one percent donation as “an earth tax.” According to Chouinard: “This is the cost of doing business. It’s taxing ourselves for being polluters, for using non-renewable resources.”
One Percent for the Planet remained relatively small until musician Jack Johnson helped raise the organization’s profile when he became a member in 2005 and put the 1% logo on the back of his album “In Between Dreams.”
As part of member companies’ contributions, One Percent for the Planet arranges for them to provide “financial donations, volunteer time, in-kind donations, and other shared-value collaborations” to its nonprofit partners. Donors may select one or more of the organization’s pre-approved nonprofits to which to give, or may request to donate to a particular sector of environmentalism and rely on its recommendations. Once the organization certifies a business’s contribution, it gives the business the right to use the 1% logo with its brand. This forms part of Patagonia’s original social enterprise philosophy, which seeks to target consumers’ ideology and reward companies commercially for giving to the environment.
Beginning in 2015, One Percent for the Planet began to also encourage individuals to donate to it. This came as part of an effort to raise the proportion of American philanthropic spending on environmentalism above three percent.
Terry Kellog is the former CEO of One Percent for the Planet. He took over as CEO in 2005 when the organization had no staff. Kellog stepped down in April 2014 to run the similar Brown-Forman Environmental Sustainability Foundation. Operating director John Tashiro took over as interim director, and in May 2015, then-Director of Partnerships Kate Williams was promoted to CEO.
In an interview with Eco News Network, Williams named Edward Abbey as one of those she looked up to the most.