Giving to environmental causes is only 3% of total philanthropy, and only 3% of this comes from businesses.

This was just one of many facts presented during last evening’s ‘1% for the Planet’ UK launch, during which environmentalists gathered to introduce the not-for-profit organisation trying to recruit businesses to donate 1% of their turnover to environmental causes.

1% for the Planet members have given more than $145 million back to the planet since it was launched by Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Craig Mathews (former owner of Blue Ribbon) in 2002.

1% for the Planet’s CEO Kate Williams was one of the speakers at last night’s event and had this to say: “Giving to environmental causes is only 3% of total philanthropy, and only 3% of this comes from businesses. The scale of environmental challenges and opportunities we face is vast, from climate change to micro-plastic pollution. The need for more funding and for advocates working for solutions is real and pressing.

The way companies are investing in sustainability is growing and changing, as is the way individuals are seeking to support causes as donors and consumers. At the same time, non-profits are increasingly scrutinized for their impacts and operations. It is in this space, that the 1% for the Planet network is making a difference for our planet.”

Kate Williams was joined by other speakers including Surfers Against Sewage CEO Hugo Tagholm and environmentalist, writer and Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, Jonathon Porritt.

Jonathon Porritt said: “Environmental causes present the biggest existential threat in the whole history of human kind on this planet, the fact that only 3% of total philanthropic giving goes into environmental causes is unbelievable.

The one thing about companies is, once they’ve looked at the evidence about collapsing eco-system, threats from accelerating climate change, the impact on their communities, their prospects for continuing prosperity in different parts of the world, unlike the politicians, who can turn away from that data effortlessly, on the grounds that someone else can deal with it in the next term of office, businesses can’t really do that. For them, it’s absolutely clear that the spaces on which their propositions work depends on having a functioning physical planet in a society, which is reasonably equitable and gives everybody a decent, dignified way of life.

He continued: “You don’t prosper as a business when the life support systems on which we all depend are collapsing. There is a very simple correlation between business success and planetary security. This role now is very important and I think it will grow and the contribution from organisations like 1% for the Planet will become more and more important.”

The impact the FTSE 100 could make on positive climate action was raised.

The approximate turnover of the FTSE 100 combined is somewhere in excess of £1trillion. A 1% contribution (£10bn) towards protecting the environment through the 1% For the Planet network would enable the following:

  • Land: we could acquire100,000,000 acres or 400 billion square meters (Source: World Land Trust, based on global average of $100 pounds an acre)

  • Carbon: we could offset 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon (Source: Carbon Fund)

  • Trees: we could plant 15 billion trees in developed countries or we could plant 150 billion trees in developing countries (Sources: National Forest Foundation and Trees for the Future)

  • Water: through water restorations certificates, we could restore over 28 trillion litres of water in stream and river projects that would directly restore economic and ecological vitality of fresh water ecosystems (Source: Bonneville Environmental Foundation)

Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage is one of the environmental charities which has benefitted from 1% for the Planet. Hugo commented: “You all might have been to the supermarket recently and had to take your own bags along, which was a great victory. My team worked very hard with a number of other charities to bring about that new legislation…that victory means that there is now an 80% reduction in the number of plastic bags given out in supermarkets.

1% for the Planet is vital to help us do what we do best, for us to innovate, resource some of our best campaigns and we can’t do it without these types of funds.”

The event, held at Chelsea Physic Garden in London was hosted by 1% for the Planet’s biggest company recruit in the UK to date, Pukka Herbs; the producer of organic and ethical herbal teas and wellbeing supplements.

Pukka Herbs’ CEO, Tim Westwell said: “If we are going to address the global problem of climate change there has to be a step change in how businesses behave. We feel strongly that businesses, such as Pukka Herbs, have a responsibility and, through 1% for the Planet, an opportunity to contribute to this. As we connect people with the health-giving power of herbs we can give back and protect the environment that is the source of our business, as well as our lives. We’d love it if more companies joined us for the benefit of people, plants and planet.”

About Pukka

Pukka create delicious organic herbal teas and incredible health supplements that take you on a journey of discovery to a healthier, happier life. ‘Pukka’ means authentic and it’s at the heart of everything we do. Based in Bristol and created by our master herbsmith we only use the finest grade organic herbs sustainably sourced and fairly traded. Our passion to connect people, plants and planet starts with a cup of delicious herbal tea. We’d love people all over the world to tune in to the power of plants

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