April 12, 2018 Boulder, CO
10:15am Panel: Creative Giving for Greatest Impact
Moderated by Jess Saba, CSR Manager 1908 Brands and Author of Tools for Environmental Giving.
In US, only 3% of charitable giving goes to Environmental issues. And, only a fraction of that comes from business giving programs. This panel spoke an audience of the leaders in the Corporate Environmental Giving space. We shared ideas for creating more effective direct giving programs. Direct giving programs are unique because, unlike a foundation, a business can give resources directly to a non-profits and build partnerships to receive benefits back.
For example, when @1908brands wanted to work towards the Boulder County Zero-Waste goals, we made a $3000 donation to Eco-Cycle and became a Green Star Business. They sent experts to walk our facilities, report on opportunities and coach us as we improved recycling bin placement, and signage. They trained our employees in recycling. They showed us where our packaging waste is recycled, or what happens when it ends up in the landfill.
After a year working with EcoCycle, we couldn’t ignore the impact of our packaging waste any longer. So, we made a commitment to ensure at least one of our products had recyclable or compostable package by 2020. We reached out to our non-profit partner, The Sustainable Packaging Coalition, made a $15,000 donation to hire their facilitators and will be hosting an Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Training on May 16th for 100 other brands in the Natural Foods industry.
As we started to learn about our partners, it became obvious that these incredible people were working everyday to improve the home we share.
We set aside $10,000 to partner with eTown to create the 1908 Sessions podcast where our CEO will interview people working to save what we have left. At the end of each episode, we’ll give credit to our non-profit partners to share their work more widely.
Each of the non-profits on the panel work with businesses to offer creative partnership programs. Here are some of the highlights from the panel.
Friends of Cedar Mesa spoke about working with a business on one cause over a long period of time to understand the issues, the struggles and opportunities. Friends of Cedar Mesa works in the Bear's Ears region and was able to quickly fundraise when national attention was brought to their area. Amanda recommended giving managers reserve funds for unexpected donations to be able support a project like a visitor's center during a time of national media attention.
The Access Fund: Annalise discussed volunteer programs and advocacy efforts. She described the depth of relationships that develop when employees volunteer and engage in advocacy. Employees they are connect to a cause, make friends and learn about an issue they are able to support advocacy efforts when the need arises.
Protect Our Winters: Uses co-branded products to share approachable messages of climate action advocacy. Torrey spoke about how a marketing team can work with a partner to share the visibility of climate messages through products in consumers’ hands.
Bonneville Environmental Fund: Discuss business environmental footprints in carbon, water and energy and how offsets, Water Restoration Crecits and Renewable Energy Credits can be a tool to mitigate your footprint. Examples include how a Travel insurance company might consider offsetting carbon for flights. How a beverage company (beer, coffee) like Grounds for Change, Hopworks might consider balancing a water footprint. How a marketing or film company like One Hundred Seconds show how even a small footprint is worth balancing. Heather recommends addressing the practices and business operations that are most material to a business with the most environmental impact and purchasing offsets, WRCs and RECs. A partnership with BEF can support sustainability reporting, certifications and marketing efforts.
The National Forest Foundation works with businesses to develop programs to reach a commitment. The National Forest Foundation works with brands like Caudalie and Boxed Water to create partnerships with multi-year commitments. Ray recommends businesses consider establishing a contractual multi-year commitment that is designed to survive workforce changes, budget shifts to work towards a share goal – like 5 million trees planted project.
Please connect if you'd like to hear more.