In 2018, we became members of 1% for the Planet (1%FTP). This is a global network of businesses who pledge to donate at least 1% of their total revenue each year to environmental charities and nonprofits.
We haven’t spoken about our 1% for the Planet membership for a while now, since 2020. During the 2020/21 financial year, we had chosen to support one of our charity clients, for whom pandemic had hit particularly hard. We also have several ongoing partners that we support on an annual basis. This year, we decided to do something different.
Local action, global inspiration
When we heard about a new project from Rise Up. Clean Up. Margate, we were intrigued by the idea and keen to learn more. Already supporters of Surfers Against Sewage, we know what a difference protecting our coastal environment can make to the planet as a whole. We also know that it can be much harder for newly established local charities to get the funding they need to make a difference.
Rise Up. Clean Up. Margate is a relatively new Community Interest Company (CIC). It was set up in the summer of 2020 as a response to the litter crisis affecting Margate’s coastline, ocean and native wildlife. They are committed to making Margate the next plastic-free beach side town and so far, their beach cleans have already seen more than 900 bags of rubbish collected.
Rise Up. Clean Up. Margate has already demonstrated the power of artistic inspiration to provoke action when they worked with local artists to create an anti-littering art installation in Margate Train Station. This installation displays all the plastic collected off the Main Sands beach in just one day.
When we heard that a new residency was planned, in collaboration with Margate-based, internationally acclaimed artist Louis Masai, we were keen to get involved and support this project as a 1% for the Planet partner.
The residency was to be a week-long, live mural project in September 2022. Involving 17 invited artists, who were filmed across the week, this climate conscious collective created public art as a means of raising awareness of ocean conservation and the issues caused by plastic in and near our oceans.
The long-term aim of this project is to evoke an emotional reaction in all those who see this art, inspiring them to respect the ocean and reduce their plastic use.
Art as a conversation starter
Our Digital Sustainability Lead, Marketa, recently shared her research on how we could harness the power of comedy to re-engage people in the climate conversation. She said that humour “…breaks all sorts of barriers. It has the power to reduce the pressure of difficult topics, to emotionally engage people, and to get them to think critically about topics that they may otherwise ignore”.
Art works similarly, it interrupts us, makes us stop, and encourages us to think differently (or at least think!) about topics that may have otherwise just become background noise.
Herakut’s approach to art is known to be humanitarian, with more than half of their work dedicated to charity causes. For this project, Hera created a stunning mural in her signature style, combining her art with a poetic plea from the ocean, saying:
The merfolk had not yet given up hope that the humans would one day clean up their own mess.
As a thank you to all the artists involved in this residency, we also sponsored a dinner for them all to come together at the end of the week to celebrate their work. This dinner was very much aligned with the project, being a zero-waste meal at The Albion Rooms, prepared by local chef Helina Tesega, founder of Eat Ethio.
Where will your 1% go?
We encourage all businesses to consider supporting aligned charities towards a better future for us all. Just one percent may seem like a small amount, but imagine if everyone donated this… It all adds up!
If you would like to learn how you can make a difference to the planet by donating 1% of your revenue as a business, then head over to 1% for the Planet and see how you contribute.