You might have seen the little 1% for the Planet on your dog’s Scratch box and our website. But what is it all about?
When Mike & I first discussed starting Scratch, we wanted to make sure our business had a positive impact on the environment and society. That it’s purpose was not just improving the pet food industry and profit. We wanted to take it further than just designing the product and packing to be as sustainable as possible.
Why the % revenue donation model?
While any corporate donation is a positive thing, we’d become wary of manipulative marketing. Many companies promote their donations, but do so only from profits – allowing them to invest would-be profits into investments, wages and undisclosed expenses before closing out their accounts and making a donation.
We wanted something more transparent where we could help in some small way, regardless of whether it took years for us to make a profit.
Admiring the social responsibility work of Patagonia, we heard about an organisation that they helped start, 1% for the Planet. Member companies commit to donating 1% of total sales to high impact environmental charities. The organisation approves effective charities and audits the businesses to make sure they are meeting their commitment to donate.
It was the perfect fit for us to get started – transparent, mandatory and high-impact.
Involving our customers
After our first three months, we asked our customers to choose which of three vetted charities would receive our first donation, and how their funds are likely to be used.
The vote was a close run contest between Ozharvest, Humane Society International and your chosen winner, World Wildlife Fund. WWF is working to save Australian mammals in danger of extinction. From the Bilby to the Numbat, Bettongs to Quolls and even Koala’s, WWF works on habitat protection, breeding programs and medical care.
We are proud to have been able to make our first donation to an organisation doing such great work – even before we have paid ourselves any wages.
It’s just the first step
1% is not all we are doing either. We have publicly stated that we want to become a B-corp. This is the gold-standard test of social responsibility commitment. But we cannot be audited until we have been in operation for 12 months.
We’ve been experimenting with how we can tweak our marketing to run from the same ethos, without all of the “start-up growth hacking”. Most modern marketing leaves a bad taste in our mouths and feels more salesy than beneficial for the customer.
Our new referral program is born from this. Rather than throw money with discounts for your friend and account credit for you, if you have had a great experience with Scratch and think other friends might do as well, we’ll donate $20 to a charity for each person that you refer. If you’re a Scratch customer, you can refer a friend here.
If you have suggestions of what you’d like to see from Scratch or ideas of great responsible business that you think we might find fascinating, send our co-founder Doug an email.