Good.Lab’s Journey with 1% for the Planet

Ted Grozier
Principal & Chief Sustainability Officer

Ted is a consultant and project manager who is expert at turning ESG innovation into business success. He was an Engagement Manager at GreenOrder, the pioneering consulting firm that Fortune called the “go-to guys for green business.”

He also served as Flagship Manager for EIT Climate-KIC, the European Union’s largest climate innovation initiative, in Berlin, Germany, where he lived for eight years. Ted is a Harvard engineer with an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

From our inception, we envisioned a company that stands for more than just profit. This vision led us to becoming a certified B Corp and pledging our commitment to 1% for the Planet – a global alliance of businesses another organizations that contribute one percent of their annual sales towards environmental endeavors. Our partnership with 1%, which started on Day One, helps us amplify our impact and allows us to directly support the causes that resonate with our core values.

Dive into this blog as we share our journey with 1% for the Planet, the causes we’ve funded, and our call to others to become part of this transformative movement.

What is 1% for the Planet?

1% for the Planet was founded in 2002 by Patagonia founder and renowned environmentalist Yvon Chouinard and Blue Ribbon Flies Founder Craig Mathews. It was based on the concept that companies should give back to the planet for the use of its resources. Yvon Chouinard’s view on giving 1% is highlighted by this quote from an open letter to the 1% community:

When Patagonia has faced hard times before, as we are now, the absolute last thing that we would give up is our 1%. It’s a cost of doing business on this planet. It’s not philanthropy – it’s an absolute necessity for us living on this planet. It’s the opposite of doing nothing.

Yvon Chouinard, Founder, 1% for the Planet & Patagonia

The 1% mission is to build a network of philanthropic businesses and carefully vetted environmental organizations to ensure companies make contributions that positively affect environmental causes.

They also certify that every member organization donates at least 1% of their annual sales to meet their commitment, preventing any chances of greenwashing.

Since its inception, 1% for the Planet has certified over $500 million for environmental charity and has over 5,700 members and 6,300 environmental partners.

How to Become a 1% for the Planet Business

To make a 1% for the Planet commitment, companies need to first determine whether there is an internal appetite for the company to give 1% of its sales to environmental NGOs. Considering this is 1% of sales and not profit, it means companies still need to give in unprofitable years, making it a big pledge.

Or, as the 1% advocate Doug Tompkins says, they could just “Commit, then figure it out.”Either way, once you have made the decision, the process is quite easy. They break it down into four simple steps:

  1. Commit: This step involves making the commitment via the online membership application. This will involve providing details about the company and demonstrating the company understands the commitment to the pledge.
  2. Give: Once committed, companies can then select which of the over 6,000 environmental partners to donate to or can choose to nominate some of their own.
  3. Certify: Companies must submit annual revenue documentation and donation receipts within 120 days of the end of their fiscal year to validate their membership.
  4. Amplify: Companies are encouraged to actively engage with the initiative, including participating in events, collaborating with other member companies, or amplifying their commitment through marketing efforts to inspire other businesses to take action.

There are costs associated with becoming a member, which are based on the size of the company. However, that cost is considered as a monetary donation toward your 1%.

How Are Donations Valued?

To meet the 1% for the Planet commitment, companies decide how, when, and where they make the donations. They can customize their contributions as long as they meet the following stipulations:

  • Half of the commitment must be monetary donations to in-network environmental partners.
  • The remaining 50% can be made up of a combination of the following:
    • Product or service donations to in-network environmental partners, valued at fair market value or normal billable rate.
    • Time spent volunteering with an in-network environmental partner, valued at $29.95 per hour, or the employee’s hourly rate.
    • 1% for the Planet advertising donations, which must be approved by the !% marketing team before the campaign launch.

This structure gives more flexibility in how members complete their commitments.

How to Become a 1% For the Planet Environmental Partner

1% for the Planet carefully vets their environmental partners, ensuring they align with their impact areas.  To be considered as an in-network environmental partner, non-profits must be recommended by a 1% for the Planet business that wants to support them.

Once an environmental partner is recommended, they receive a link to an application. If they meet the 1% for the Planet eligibility criteria and pass the partnership assessment, they can become a member. The partnershipassessment process involves companies showing:

  • Proof of eligible registration status. This is a tax registration status that proves “nonprofit” status, such as companies with the tax status501c3, 501c4, or L3C in the US.
  • Details on organizational structure and history, including legal compliance, geography of operations, and mission statement.
  • Alignment of mission to one or more of 1% for the Planet’s Impact Area Targets. 
  • Program budget details: An organization with two-thirds or more of its program budget in alignment with the Impact Area Targets can earn full “Environmental Partner” status. Organizations that do not meet this threshold can still become Environmental Partners, but only for specific programs that do meet the threshold.
  • Screening for corruption, criminal activity, false promotions, or greenwashing.

Once organizations become in-network environmental partners, they can start receiving funding from any 1% for the Planet business.

Good.Lab’s Partnership with 1% for the Planet

At Good.Lab, our dedication to forging a sustainable and equitable future transcends our suite of services. Our partnership with 1% for the Planet since our inception has been an essential part of our company’s DNA. It’s a constant reminder that as we help organizations navigate their sustainability pathways, we, too, are actively investing in other organizations doing the same. In the words of our Chief Sustainability Officer:

In a world where philanthropy can too often be a feel-good add-on unrelated to a company’s business, I’m especially proud that we’ve made a commitment aligned with our mission.

Ted Grozier, Chief Sustainability Officer & Principal, Good.Lab

With donations that run into the thousands of dollars directed towards 19 diverse causes, we’ve sought to address many challenges that our planet faces. Our contributions span the realms of:

  1. Animal Conservation: In an age where countless species face the brink of extinction, our support aims to safeguard biodiversity and ensure ethical animal welfare.
  2. Nature Conservation: By championing initiatives that protect our forests, oceans, and air, we’re striving to mitigate some of the repercussions of human intervention.
  3. Decarbonization Efforts: Recognizing the urgency of the global climate crisis, our funds have empowered projects that are on the frontlines of reducing emissions.
  4. Vegan Activism: For some of us, ethical eating is more than just a lifestyle choice; it’s a stand against animal cruelty and an endorsement of a healthier planet. Our support for vegan activism underscores our belief in compassionate and sustainable living.
Good.Lab 1% for the Planet info.

Employee Philanthropic Initiatives: Matching Gifts and Birthday Donations

Hitting our 1% target has three main pathways:

  • We give employees a $100 gift on their birthday to donate to a cause of their choice
  • Plus, we allow employees to make their own donation, which we will 3x match up to $10,000
  • We give staff the opportunity to volunteer with a paid day off once a quarter

We believe that involving the whole company in this effort improves morale, gives a better sense of purpose, and is a great motivator. Our employees have taken on the responsibility gladly and have suggested charities, like the Vegan Hacktivists, to be added to the approved Environmental Partners list.

Real Impact: Stories from Our Investments

Good.Lab team at a beach clean up.

One specific large donation the company made was to the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County, where we made both a monetary donation and an all-company volunteer event towards a beach cleanup. By channeling our resources towards a large donation and dedicating our time to the beach clean-up, we not only fulfilled a large part of our commitment to 1% for the Planet, but we also fostered bonding across our remote work team and felt our efforts were making a tangible impact.

This hands-on approach of blending financial support with active participation served as a powerful reminder of our duty to environmental stewardship as a mission-driven company. Additionally, by choosing a cause that benefits local ecosystems and communities, we send a clear message about our dedication to make a difference right where it matters – in our own backyard. For Good.Lab, that’s literally coast to coast, from the San Francisco Baykeeper, defending the area’s watershed, to Shelburne Farms, an education nonprofit building a sustainable future in Vermont and beyond.

Our Future Commitments

We plan to continue our commitment as we grow.

We will continue to find new ways to get our team involved in the process, helping to select causes close to their heart to the 1% for the Planet Environmental Partners list. We also always try to amplify the 1%message by encouraging clients and peers to become members or to consider buying our products to enable us to give more.

In a world that needs sustainable business practices, joining the 1% for the Planet initiative is more than just a commitment—it’s a pledge to our future. If your company values sustainable growth and believes in giving back, we urge you to take the leap with us. Become a fellow signatory and let’s give back the 1%, our planet deserves.

Disclaimer: Good.Lab does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice through this website. Our goal is to provide timely, research-informed material prepared by subject-matter experts and is for informational purposes only. All external references are linked directly in the text to trusted third-party sources.

Ted Grozier
Principal & Chief Sustainability Officer
Ted is a consultant and project manager who is expert at turning ESG innovation into business success. He was an Engagement Manager at GreenOrder, the pioneering consulting firm that Fortune called the “go-to guys for green business.” He also served as Flagship Manager for EIT Climate-KIC, the European Union’s largest climate innovation initiative, in Berlin, Germany, where he lived for eight years. Ted is a Harvard engineer with an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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