AirGradient started as a volunteer project to help a school in Northern Thailand monitor the air quality in classrooms during the highly polluted “burning season”. From the start, we worked with students and educators to not only increase awareness in the area of air quality by building monitors but also in understanding the health impacts of air pollution, and the positive changes that can be made to reducing air pollution.
So from the start our mission to improve air quality awareness was always core of what has been driving us. On our journey we are meeting many extremely passionate advocates for clean air working very hard to fight pollution and for a healthier planet. Often these non-profit organisations that many of these advocates work for could do much more if they would get more funding. Unfortunately as per a recent study by the Clean Air Fund, only 0.1% of philanthropic funding goes to clean air but as per World Health Organisation Air pollution is the leading environmental health risk humans now face (source).
We have long wanted to support these organisations in a systematic and accountable way and once we learned about 1% For The Planet we felt immediately that this is exactly the right framework.
What is 1% For The Planet?
When you join 1% For The Planet, you pledge to donate at least one percent of your annual sales to non-profit organisations dedicated to protect the planet. 1% For The Planet supports NGOs in the areas of alternative transportation, climate change, energy and resource extraction, environmental education, environmental law and justice, environment and human health, food, land, pollution, water and wildlife.
Why did we join?
There are a couple of reasons why we liked the 1% For The Planet framework of doing good and here are a few reasons why it made a really good fit for us.
Low Bureaucracy & Simplicity
As a small company, you have virtually no resources available to deal with complex social programs and want something simple but effective. The beauty of 1% For The Planet is its simplicity. You commit to donate 1% of your sales. Full stop. Unlike other programs like B-Corp, there is no need for complex questionnaires, self-assessments, internal and external audits etc. At the same time, the program is very strict, as your sales figure is an audited figure of every company and there is no ambiguity on that number. At the same time 1% For The Planet vets and approves the receiving NGOs, so you cannot just donate it to your own foundation ;).
We like to be held accountable for our work ethics and our support for NGOs, so having an external organisation like 1% For The Planet auditing our commitments is ensuring that we stick to our promises :). It also helps us to make our donations more systematic and ensure we donate consistently every year and in line with our growth.
We went 100% In!
When you join 1% For The Planet, you can either donate 1% of a specific product/service line or 1% of your complete company sales. We decided to go 100% in and donate 1% of all our complete company sales because the Planet deserves it!
Do Good and Talk About It
For a small company like AirGradient, that likes to put their resources into making great air quality monitors and supporting communities around the world (rather than spending a lot of money on advertising), gaining visibility is always a challenge. By joining 1% For The Planet movement and becoming part of their network and directory, we do hope that more people become aware of us.
Fits to our other Priorities
The 1% For The Planet commitment fits very well with our other priorities. Our customers know for example that we avoid plastic as package material of our air quality sensors, and we do also ask our suppliers to not use unnecessary plastic based packaging. Furthermore, we are committed to the right to repair and design from the start long-lasting products.
What can You do?
Still too often, when we buy a new product we primarily look at price and features but not much beyond. So one thing we can all do is to become a more conscious consumer and keep the impact on the planet with our purchase in mind. How long do the products last, does the company support open standards, does the company reduce its environmental footprint, does it support local communities etc.
Get in touch with us, if you want to know more about how we want to help protect the planet.