By Andrea Toochin

I assumed Patagonia was the shopping haven for ski snobs until my first trip to Colorado. Though I never shopped there but for a baby bunting, I came to respect the company because of its moral responsibility and the mission of the company.

For twenty years, they’ve been contributing to environmental causes, but four years ago, Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, and Craig Mathews, owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, founded 1% for the Planet. The nonprofit organization enlists companies to donate 1% of their sales to environmental causes. Their blunt, practical, yet socially responsible philosophy is embodied in the David Brower quote placed on the opening page of their Web site, “There is no business to be done on a dead planet.”

One percent of sales may not seem like much, but imagine how many million- and billion- dollar companies give nothing at all. This method of charitable donations is affordable enough for startups, and easy to maintain; unlike many short-term charitable donations, members of this nonprofit are loyal. Among the 130+ members are Clif Nectar, Web store Spa Box, green clothing and furniture retailer Vivavi, and Peaceful Company. From natural pet wipes to sustainable furniture, their network ensures thoughtful shopping that goes beyond material obsessions to earthy possessions.

Check out for more information and a member directory.

Originally published August 2005
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