CANDID WITH CADRE | Kate Williams, CEO 1% For the Planet

CANDID WITH CADRE | Kate Williams, CEO 1% For the Planet

CANDID WITH CADRE | Ranjana Khan, Jewelry Designer Reading CANDID WITH CADRE | Kate Williams, CEO 1% For the Planet 4 minutes Next THE LOWDOWN | What is Greenwashing
Kate Williams, CEO of environmental non-profit 1% For the Planet, proves that a little can certainly go a long way. Retail members (like Cadre!) that pledge 1% of their sales directly help various environmental organizations that partner with 1% For the Planet in their environmental and community-driven efforts. To date, they have raised over 450 million in funds to support environmental aid. We recently sat down with Kate to discuss all the good that the organization creates and the ways she thinks big change can happen in small, yet impactful ways.

How does every partner’s 1% contribute to environmental change? 

The real work of driving impact is done by the environmental partners on the ground. There are literally thousands of stories of what's happening from ocean cleanups, to design driven by biomimicry, to plastics elimination. The total money of giving dollars tells us the scale of impact, but it's all the stories that really bring that impact to life. And the stories are the partnerships between the members and the environmental partners. We now have more than five thousand members all over the world, and many of them are giving more than one donation annually. And so that's how a lot can happen.

Of the partners 1% For the Planet has, do you feel like bigger companies help boost the overall number in funds raised or does the collective of smaller members add up? 

We have a lot of smaller members and we really celebrate that. When brands of any size, all sizes, join, that's how we build a movement, and we want to do that. We want to create that sort of movement level energy and awareness. When we get more bigger brands joining, that enables us to just drive giving impact more quickly just because 1% of a bigger number is a bigger number. 

There's this incredible kind of democracy of giving that's part of it. When we celebrate 65 million or 450 million, everyone's part of it. And we love that. We value both sizes and both sizes help us to grow in different ways. I think with access to more shared media platforms in terms of social media and whatnot, smaller brands often have a really big platform. A lot of the small brands, their revenue may be small, but their reach can be really quite big with audiences that are really attuned. 

How can any citizen make an effort to contribute to collective change?

I would say pick one thing. In a given week, wake up, and pick one thing like, I'm going to use a reusable coffee cup instead of buying a coffee cup. I think oftentimes people would be like, Well, it doesn't really matter if I get this cup today. What difference does that make? So really it’s about reframing it as, It's less about this mug today and it's more about me repeating an action over time consistently and thus creating a habit which I can then stack another habit on and drive more change. 

The other thing which might feel bigger but super powerful is thinking about where you bank. So when you put money in the bank, your deposits are invested by the bank, and most of us don't think a lot about that, but actually, that's how a lot of stuff in the world happens with the investments through bank deposits. A lot of those investments are not what you would want to be investing in. So find out what's happening at your bank and consider making a switch.

Where do you hope the general attitude of society shifts in regards to climate urgency?

I'm a big fan of love. I think that's what it all comes down to. And that gets me back to where I started my career at the Northern Forest Canoe Trail was if you connect people to the outdoors and give them that opportunity to fall in love with places and with our planet and to realize it's not separate. We are part of this natural ecosystem, and the more we can really feel that and live in that, the more we're going to be able to create that future that is thriving for the whole ecosystem.