Giving back is part of our DNA. We donate 10% of our profits (after tax and before bonuses) to not-for-profit organisations that benefit the planet, people and animals. In fact, we’re so committed to the environment that we’ve become a certified member of 1% for the Planet.
1% for the Planet encourages businesses and not-for-profits to donate 1% of their revenue to environmental causes to help fight climate change. Giving back to the planet, people and animals has long been part of our DNA. Australian Ethical has completed a certification process and we are now a fully-fledged member based on 1% for the Planet’s “gold standard”. That means we donate more than 1% of our total revenue to environmental non-for-profit organisations.
When Australian Ethical was founded in 1986 our constitution stipulated that 10% of our profits (after tax and before bonuses) must be gifted to any not-for-profit organisation for any charitable, benevolent or conservation purpose. Community Grants are distributed by the Australian Ethical Foundation, which in 2018 gave to Rainforest Rescue, an organisation that aims to restore rainforest on a degraded site in the Daintree region of far north Queensland. Another recipient in 2018 was The Australian Conservation Foundation, which works to strengthen national environmental laws to protect natural areas in Australia.
1% for the Planet was was co-founded by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Today, the movement has a presence in more than 60 countries and has overseen the donation of US$175 million to environmental organisations. One of the key rationales for 1% for the Planet is that climate change poses an existential threat to the planet. Human-caused global warming is putting our food systems, land, waterways and species under direct threat. Combating climate change is also one of the core aims of Australian Ethical – it’s part of the decision-making process when we choose our investments and it also guides the philanthropic work of our Foundation.
“Addressing climate change is the most pressing challenge of our time,” says Australian Ethical CEO Phil Vernon. “All other issues fade away if we don’t have a habitable planet to live on.”
In addition to our planet-focused donations, our people and animal grant recipients often have a climate change impact, such as rainforest conservation through initiatives like the Orangutan Project.
“Giving back isn’t just about writing out a cheque to a charity. We work closely with strategically aligned charities to develop shared values and shared learnings that go beyond just financial support,” says Phil.
But the commitment to caring for our planet goes beyond just our Foundation. From our volunteer days, in-office sustainability initiatives and internal campaigns to raise awareness about particular issues, we all take an active role in looking after the environment.
Individuals can also sign up and pledge to give 1% of their annual salary or net worth to approved environmental causes. It’s an honour to join other great businesses in Australia who are 1% certified, including KeepCup, Koala and Patagonia.