Happy (Earth) Mother's Day!
Greetings loyal readers,
I recently interviewed Mark Trotzuk, president of Boardroom ECO Apparel, for one of the articles I'm currently writing for our upcoming June responsibility supplement, which is a mini-issue about all kinds of great stuff like corporate social accountability and environmental stewardship.
Mark was a wealth of knowledge on both subjects. Unfortunately, he also gave me way too much material to fit into my article, so I thought I would print some of it here in bits and pieces. We'll start with what was actually my initial reason for calling him: Boardroom ECO Apparel's membership in an organization called 1% For The Planet. Below is a rough transcription of Mark's explanation of the group and a few of its perks:
Mark Trotzuk: What they do is they have a list of environmental organizations all over the world that they have audited and done the due diligence to make sure that they're legitimate and they fit within the framework of 1% For The Planet. Then, they allow companies who join, so you know, it could be a clothing manufacturer, it could be an artist, it could be whoever, to join 1% For The Planet, and you pay a fee, depending on how much revenue you have or make, and you are allowed to donate 1% of your revenue back to any of these [environmental] organizations. And there are like 6 to 700* organizations on their list. So what I usually do is look for organizations in my little territory here, I'm in Vancouver Canada, so a lot of times I'll just donate to the David Suzuki Foundation. … I'll also donate money to Al Gore's The Climate Project. Depending on where I want my money to go, I have a lot of different opportunities to send it to ... nonprofit environmental organizations.
*1% For The Planet lists around 1,700 charities; 1,424 of which are in North America.
Mark mentioned he liked 1% for the Planet because he's able to choose where his donations go, as opposed to the organization just handing it out on its own. I have to agree that feature is pretty neat. In just a few minutes of browsing around, I found a charity that cares for one of my favorite local beaches, and a few others that do wildlife conservation in New Zealand (What? I love kiwi birds).
Overall, I think 1% For The Planet is an interesting and clever way to run a charity, uniting businesses and nonprofits of various sizes while also providing monitoring and verification. I suppose it's debatable how charity connects to corporate environmental stewardship, but Mark raised the important point that there are parts of manufacturing and distribution where Boardroom ECO Apparel can't do much about certain environmental damages, like fuel used in shipping products. Donating to 1% For The Planet was his way of compensating for such things, sort of like buying carbon offsets.
CHARLES PLYTER FACT OF THE WEEK: Charlie's charity, Charlie Needs Spare Quarters for Soda or Sometimes Cheetos, has yet to be approved by 1% for the Planet. My charity, Hammocks or at Least Little Beds in the Office, isn't doing much better. We're thinking about appealing, but have neither the quarters or nap-based motivation to fuel a successful countersuit.