Sunday, March 8, 2009

The "One Percent Difference" on Fire

If anyone ever doubted the magnitude that the "One Percent Difference" can make let me illustrate with a real life business example I came across this weekend.

In a March 2006 NBC News article, Patagonia clothing company owner Yvon Chouinard was featured discussing his 1% of annual sales contribution to environmentally friendly organizations. Over the 20 years he had been donating his contributions amounted to $22 million dollars.

Now that on its own is newsworthy, however the rest of the story is even more compelling. Chouinard befriended another company executive who had been making the same 1% of sales contributions and they created onepercentfortheplanet.org with the mission of recruiting other companies who would do the same. The idea being that collectively these companies could make a huge impact on the environment by giving back 1% of their sales.


When the article was written, 1% for the Planet numbered some 250 companies and that was a mere 3 years ago. Today if you go to their website www.onepercentfortheplanet.org you will find an interactive world map that profiles nearly 1100 companies that annually donate to over 1700 environmental organizations. Have a look at the promotional video from their website.




Though many of the companies are recognizable household names, the bulk of the companies listed are not, indicating a huge groundswell of support for the goals of this organization at the grassroots level. A 400% growth over 3 years is huge for any organization but it is a great illustration of how little it really takes to make people passionate about an issue. I can imagine a day when it will be a competitive disadvantage to not be part of this organization. They are the "One Percent Difference" on fire.

Strike your own chord that resonates with people to create that “One Percent Difference,” for your business. In this case it means survival for our planet and therefore an Earth fit to live on for our grandchildren.

No comments: