© ATTA / Rocky Grimes - Spencer Glacier 2015

How the Adventure Travel Community Can Measure Collective Impact Through 1% for the Planet

17 April 2024

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) is proud to be a certified member of 1% for the Planet – a global network of businesses committed to donating 1% of annual sales, not profits, to environmental efforts.

Founded in 2002 during a fishing trip, today 1% for the Planet has more than 5,500 business members in 60 countries and a wide range of industries. They all share a commitment to protecting natural resources through the power of collective environmental action. 

Last May, at the conclusion of AdventureELEVATE in Portland, Maine, Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet, and Soraya Shattuck, Executive Director of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF), shared the exciting news that in addition to the ATTA joining 1% for the Planet, the ATCF was also formally approved as a certified nonprofit partner. 

This detail is key: in addition to the structured guidelines surrounding membership in 1% for the Planet, environmental partners approved to receive donations are also closely vetted. The ATCF has demonstrated broad reach and global impact in funding conservation projects at a grassroots and community level, and the ATTA is incredibly proud to continue supporting this work.

“1% for the Planet takes the guessing and uncertainty of donating out of the picture and helps to direct meaningful giving. The ATCF is proud to be an environmental partner of 1% for the Planet, and to be the chosen nonprofit recipient of the ATTA’s giving,” said Shattuck. “Our vision is that all travelers and the global travel community become stewards for the planet, and our relationship with 1% for the Planet is helping us achieve that.”

In addition to vetting environmental nonprofit recipients, 1% for the Planet also allows for flexible giving options to best meet each company's needs. For example, donations contributed toward that 1% can be a combination of monetary, fair market value products and services, and volunteer time. 

“When we began this process, we were surprised to learn how close we were to already qualifying – simply because of the values and stewardship we were already practicing, like giving to the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund,” said Shannon Stowell, ATTA CEO. “Many businesses in the adventure travel community are already incredibly generous and even have their own foundations and nonprofits. ATTA members joining 1% for the Planet based on their current non profit support (of 1% approved environmental partners) will allow ATTA to track our community’s giving and in turn report on the donations of the collective adventure travel industry, showing the world the impact we all make together.”

That collective impact around sustainability is a major focus for the ATTA in 2024, as the organization celebrates its 20th anniversary under Stowell’s leadership. Earlier this year, the ATTA announced the launch of its sustainability center, a formal sustainability policy and fund, and a partnership with Innovation Norway and Tomorrow’s Air to kick off a “Year of Climate Action”. 

Working toward sustainability requires a delicate balance. On one hand, progress – even if imperfect – should be celebrated. Yet, too many companies still rely on “green” marketing and greenwashing to appear more committed to responsible practices than they really are. This is where collective membership in 1% for the Planet has the potential to highlight the true impact adventure travel can have on funding conservation and environmental projects.

© ATTA / Mark Crawford - ANEXT Brazil 2018

There are compelling reasons to focus sustainability efforts toward third-party certifications. In addition to the environmental benefit, third-party certifications are also good for business. A recent study of 100,000 global companies across industries found strong positive correlations between Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) activities and profitability. Third-party certifications also build trust among consumers, and prevent fallout from accusations of greenwashing; last year, a class action lawsuit was filed against Delta Airlines for their claims of carbon neutrality. 

In the EU, third-party certifications will soon be required in order to make any sustainability claims. The impact of this is already making waves: after discussions with the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), Booking.com recently announced it was suspending its Travel Sustainable tiered system, and instead will only highlight properties that have third-party certifications, since they, “enhance credibility and ensure confidence in the sustainability efforts of your property.”

“Lots of brands say they give back, or give the impression of environmental action through ‘green’ packaging and vague statements,” Williams said in a recent interview, “1% For The Planet membership is a way for both businesses and consumers to cut through the noise – to make real impact and reject business as usual.” 

Ready to join the movement and learn more about 1% for the Planet? Here are the next steps:

  • Complete this form to connect to the team at 1% for the Planet who will walk you through the onboarding process and answer any questions about membership and certification.
  • Tell your account manager at 1% for the Planet about your affiliation with the ATTA – this step is crucial to calculating the aggregate giving for the whole community.
  • Choose an environmental partner! The ATCF is an officially recognized non-profit, but ATTA members can select any 1% for the Planet environmental partner, or go through a separate process to certify their own foundations and nonprofits for eligibility.

For more information about how your 1% contributions can directly impact conservation projects through the ATCF, please feel free to contact Executive Director, Soraya Shattuck, at [email protected].

© 1% for the Planet