In 2001 Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, two passionate environmentalists, first conceived of the idea to encourage more successful businesses to donate 1% of their sales to environmental groups. Patagonia had been contributing 10% of pre-tax profits or 1% of sales, whichever is greater, to environmental groups since 1985. Chouinard called this the “earth tax” and both men felt, as businesses profiting from the outdoors, they had a responsibility to help preserve the earth’s natural resources.
1% For The Planet was officially launched at the San Francisco Patagonia store in 2002. At that first event twenty-one businesses signed up including a winery, a coffee company and a guide service. By 2004 Jack Johnson, in conjunction with his music and film companies, Brushfire Records and The Moonshine Conspiracy, became the 50th member of 1% FTP and the publicity surrounding the launch of his next album, with the 1% logo prominently on the back, kick started new membership to two to three new sign-ups per week.Today, 1% FTP is an alliance of more than 1200 members in 48 countries and together, these businesses have donated more than $130 million to environmental and sustainability nonprofits.
We are long time admirers and fans of the Patagonia business model and dedication to the environment and signed up to be a member of 1% almost as soon as we decided to open our doors. Patagonia has been revolutionary in their marketing with such statements as “Don’t Buy This Jacket” released in an email campaign for Cyber Monday– while the rest of the retail industry focused on selling as much as they possibly could jam out their doors that day, Patagonia told their customers “don’t buy what you don’t need”. Their constant dedication to reducing the environmental footprint that clothing and other new wares leaves behind has been an inspiration and has motivated us to conceive of our own new kind of shopping, Kindred Black.