“This is not philanthropy. This should be a cost of doing business. It’s paying rent for our use of the planet.” The founder of outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is a trailblazer in ethical business, so it’s no wonder he’s able to convey the importance of 1% for the Planet so clearly and powerfully. And if every country and organisation thought that way, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.
You may have come across the logo on some of the products you purchase or websites you shop from. One Percent for the Planet is an international organisation that gets its name very simply from its members contributing at least 1% of their annual revenue to protecting the environment. Patagonia is one of its most internationally recognisable members, and if you consider that this brand has an estimated revenue of $1.5 billion (in 2022), that should make a decent donation. ‘Putting people and the planet over profit’, the organisation aims to prevent greenwashing and focus donations towards the most critical environmental issues. Despite the growing climate crises, only 3% of total philanthropic giving goes to environmental causes, so by shopping brands sporting the logo, you know that a percentage of that sale is going to one of the 4,000 environmental organisations 1% for the Planet supports. With 156 beauty brands signed up, you have more than enough to make an ethical choice, and if you’re looking for inspiration, here are 6 beauty and wellbeing brands I can recommend.
With an offering of just 4 products (a cleanser, a cream, an oil and a balm) made by hand in small batches in Northern California, Apo.Ge is the definition of an indie brand. Every aspect of the brand has been carefully thought through, from the simple cruelty-free formulas using certified organic, wildcrafted, fair trade, sustainably grown and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible, to the 100% plastic-free packaging: using glass, paper and aluminium, everything is recyclable, reusable or biodegradable. I discovered Apo.Ge thanks to its beautiful Renewing Night Elixir, a rich and deep golden oil that delivers the brand’s star ingredients manuka and hemp oils to the skin for a nourishing and soothing result. The scent is one that I’ve never come across before, and although unusual, I’ve come to rely on it as part of my evening skincare routine and look forward to it being the last thing I smell before falling asleep.
The first time I noticed the 1% for the Planet symbol was on a Caudalie product. Unsurprising, seeing as I’ve probably tried 90% of their skincare products, and their Vinoperfect Serum features in my hall of fame all-time favourite skincare heroes. French pharmacy brand Caudalie has been a 1% for the Planet member since 2012 and holds the no.1 position as the top European contributor and top beauty spot worldwide. They’re aiming to plant 10 million trees by 2023 to capture CO2 and reduce the impacts of climate change, and at over 9.5m trees to date, they’re not too far off their target. In honour of this green initiative, I’ve chosen to highlight Caudalie’s pastel green packaged range Vinopure, enriched in salicylic acid to tackle clogged pores caused by dead skin cells and sebum.
Part of the Italian group Davines, skincare and spa brand Comfort Zone has been walking the green path for a while now: they became a B Corp in 2016, before a glut of beauty brands followed suit, and they became certified Plastic Neutral by Plastic Bank by removing the equivalent amount of plastic deriving from sales of its products from the environment. And through 1% for the Planet, Comfort Zone support Rodale Institute, the global pioneers of the ‘regenerative organic agriculture’ movement. For the Davines Group, these initiatives are truly part of their DNA, and by supporting them, you can ensure you’re investing in a planet positive project, whilst benefitting from one of the most elegant room diffusers I’ve come across, complete with frosted glass packaging and an aromatic blend of sandalwood and sweet orange essential oils.
The advantage with small independent brands is that they are not held hostage by a bunch of shareholders sacrificing ethics for the bottom line. Certified cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny and with a B Corp status in the pipeline, this Californian beauty and wellness brand has chosen to dedicate 1% of its gross sales each year to support NGOs through 1% for the Planet. I was introduced to Element Apothec as a judge for the 2022 Clean Beauty Awards, where I discovered their Belle Visage Face Serum, a botanical-rich oil-based serum which manages to be nutrient-packed and nourishing whilst remaining lightweight.
It was during my first stint as a judge for the Clean Beauty Awards skincare category back in 2018 that I was introduced to this Taiwanese skincare brand, and in particular their fantastic 100% natural antioxidant serum containing broccoli sprouts extracts, cucumber, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. But enough about the product, here I need to focus on the brand’s sustainable credentials. With Greenvines’ philosophy being ‘The more you know, the better you consume’, this doesn’t just apply to knowing what’s in your products, but also where your money’s going, and on that front I feel Greenvines fall short, as there are no details to be found on their site about their commitment to 1% for the Planet.
Another discovery from this year’s Clean Beauty Awards and another Californian natural hair and boycare brand, Lovesong offers plant-based, vegan formulas made with wind energy. Of all the 1% for the Planet brands I’ve come across (excluding Greenvines who don’t even mention the partnership), Lovesong is probably the one who is the most discreet about it – which is a shame as this is something to really shout about and share with the customers buying your product (or thinking of doing so). Caudalie highlight it in their Instagram bio, Apo.Ge proudly display it on their homepage, Comfort Zone have a whole section dedicated to the project they support… Beauty consumers want to know where their money is going and look up to brands to alleviate consumer guilt – literally the act of consuming the planet – a role that 1% for the Planet can take on, as well as that of educator.
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