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Five takeaways to help you ride the sustainability wave

Science & Environment

With the growing urgency of climate change concerns on the global radar, we bring you 5 key takeaways from the inaugural One Percent for the Planet European Summit, which we were delighted to attend earlier this month.

The recent publication of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in October is yet another stark warning to us all of the limited time remaining if we are to keep global warming below 1.5C. There is now no doubt that environmental concerns should sit at the top of global business and political agendas, marked urgent.

Maintaining and promoting a healthy planet is at the heart of the One Percent for the Planet mission. Founded in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews, One Percent for the Planet is an international organisation whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to support environmental causes. One Percent for the Planet connects businesses and individuals partner with non-profit organisations (NGOs) active in the field and guides them to develop the most appropriate relationship.

Following the success of the second Global Summit in Colorado, One Percent for the Planet members based in Europe gathered in Amsterdam on 15th November for the first European Summit to celebrate their shared environmental commitment and address our planet’s biggest challenges. Joining the event, our contributor Piotr Kowalczyk, Transformation Consultant at Re_Set, (sister organisation to Springwise) and proud member of One Percent for the Planet, collected his 5 key takeaways from a day of debate, creativity, fun and real dedication to the cause.

1. Increase philanthropy for sustainability: Philanthropy is usually a force for good which helps resolve the world’s biggest problems. What is striking is that only 3 percent of total philanthropic giving goes to environmental causes – thus highlighting the opportunity to increase this kind of donation. This idea was discussed at length in Amsterdam and One Percent for the Planet members agreed to focus on this in the year ahead.

2. Business collaboration with NGOs: The time when ecology and business do not share the same ambition is over. The One Percent for the Planet European Summit proved that corporations and NGOs can start pragmatic collaboration to address specific issues and align common sustainability goals. Springwise has partnered with the Wild Trout Trust in the UK to ensure that rivers are clean enough for trout to thrive. Check out other recent case studies here.

3. Build long-term relationships: This may seem obvious, but to achieve results long-term commitment is crucial. Kate Williams, the brilliant CEO of One Percent for the Planet, emphasised that progress mattered more than perfection. Corporations and NGOs must engage in long-term relationships to get the sustainability message across. Successful businesses of all sizes now develop a coherent sustainability vision at the heart of their strategy and business model, and empower both employees and customers to drive the change.

4. Pioneers drive change at every stage: Smaller business size doesn’t reduce opportunity. Speakers talked of Patagonia (also founded by Yvon Chouinard) which demonstrates the journey growth of a business with a clear vision for positive change from the outset. This point was reinforced as the Summit took place at the amazing new Patagonia store in Amsterdam. Patagonia is now a global success story and the tremendous number of Small and Medium Enterprises members of One Percent for the Planet demonstrate not only that smaller companies can make a significant contribution but that it actually helps them succeed.

5. Support One percent for the Planet’s European expansion: The rallying cry – One Percent for the Planet is now committed to increase activities to reach a wider European corporate audience, aiming to double in size by 2020. The crowd gathered in Amsterdam responded positively to the call, demonstrating our appetite to spread the message and be ever more engaged. Naturally Springwise and Re_Set will be at the forefront of this movement.