Building Stronger Communities: One Percent for the Planet

Network connections — One Percent for the Planet links up area business, nonprofit with similar values

Chris Bishop, owner of Backroom Coffee Roasters — a small operation that roasts and sells coffee out of Bishop’s bicycle store — was looking for a different way to promote his business and better connect with other environmentally minded companies.

“We’re a small company, so anytime somebody hears our name, it’s a good thing,” he says.

Enter One Percent for the Planet.

The largest environmental network in the world, One Percent for the Planet helps individuals, businesses and organizations that want to give back. Businesses pledge to give 1 percent of their sales to a nonprofit within the network, and One Percent for the Planet, a third-party verifier, ensures the business does as promised and the funds are truly used for environmental causes.

The organization, which is based in Vermont, has more than 1,100 business members worldwide who give to 3,000 different nonprofits.

The business: Backroom Coffee Roasters

In Bishop’s mind, coffee and bicycles go hand in hand.

“I had been home roasting coffee for a number of years, prior to starting to do it professionally,” he says.

His bike store, which he opened in 2010, had space in the back that he wasn’t using, so he thought, “Maybe I should take the home roasting to a different level.”

All coffee from the micro-roaster that needs to be delivered within a five-mile radius is delivered by bike, weather permitting. Because coffee beans have already traveled so far, Bishop figured the least he could do was try to deliver it from his place in an environmentally friendly way.

Joining One Percent for the Planet allows Backroom Coffee Roasters to partner and identify with a well-respected global brand. And the process of becoming a member was fairly easy because One Percent for the Planet works with you, Bishop says.

When he started looking at it from a Columbus perspective, because he wanted to support someone local, he discovered there were only a few members in Ohio. Simply Living seemed like the best partner.

The nonprofit: Simply Living

Chuck Lynd, executive director of Simply Living, says the organization has been around for more than 20 years as an umbrella group in Central Ohio.

Simply Living seeks to create a compassionate and sustainable world through personal, community and cultural transformation. Lynd says that can be hard to define in a simple elevator speech.

Simply Living has acted as an incubator for projects that now stand on their own, and encourages the development of neighborhood or community-based groups.

The group was involved in starting the Clintonville Community Market, which now has 28 employees. Simply Living members started the nonprofit Green Columbus, and Local Matters originally had space in Simply Living’s office.

“We do these bottom-up, collaborative kinds of projects,” Lynd says.

Basically, the board reviews proposals that Simply Living’s membership comes up with, and then works with members to develop certain projects.


The initiative: Sustainable U

One of Simply Living’s newest projects is Sustainable U, which Backroom Coffee Roasters is supporting. The project has a part-time director lined up and will use crowdfunding.

Lynd says they want to create a website that aggregates the various training workshops related to all the different aspects for sustainability. It will act as a hub for the educational component of living locally and sustainably.

Then, you’ll be able to go to one place to learn about various educational opportunities, such as raising backyard chickens, beekeeping, urban homesteading, bicycle workshops, rain barrel workshops, local energy sources, cooking classes and so on.

“If people ask, ‘How can I learn how to live local?’ The answer will be this website that aggregates both our members’ courses, which we do a number of them, as well as the various groups that we partner with that are also doing these things,” Lynd says.

“We want to promote all these things and have one umbrella,” he says. “We’re more of a dot connector. We don’t control things, but we network.”

Bishop thinks the website is a great idea because so many people want to be involved and don’t know how. There’s also so much information out there that’s disconnected.

“The biggest thing is when we’re able to contribute to keep nonprofits like them going and building and growing, the message spreads quicker, it becomes more clear and people get educated, and start making, hopefully, better decisions with their spending,” he says.

And so far, a year into being a One Percent for the Planet member, everything is working well. In fact, Backroom Coffee Roasters will be hosting an upcoming social for Simply Living members, who can come in and talk about coffee.

“I envision a lot of good things happening between us in the future,” Bishop says.

Learn more about One Percent for the Planet at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/1percentfortheplanet
Twitter: @1PercentFTP

How to reach: One Percent for the Planet, (802) 496-5408 or www.onepercentfortheplanet.org; Backroom Coffee Roasters, (614) 486-8735 or www.backroomcoffeeroasters.com; Simply Living, (614) 447-0296 or www.simplyliving.org

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