Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the planet, chats about reducing plastic waste, microbiome skincare and appreciating nature.
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It’s not nearly as complicated to make sustainable choices in our everyday lives as one might think. According to Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet, it begins with making one small choice. That can be as simple as feeling inspired to volunteer, spending time outdoors or choosing natural products.The latter can be achieved through supporting companies like Image Skincare, a favorite of Kate’s, that is not only a 1% for the planet partner, but also Natural Certified and PETA approved.
I chose Image Skincare’s BIOME+ ® collection that focuses on maintaining the skin’s microbiome- the diverse community of microorganisms that support and protect our skin. Ingredients are a blend of celery seeds, flax, sugarcane, and microgreens. The results- a renewed glow and smoother skin tone- boosted my radiance and confidence to ditch foundation for a natural look just in time for the warmer weather. This was achieved within 7 days on skin inching towards 40. As for the packaging- it was shipped in a FSC certified paper box and packaged in materials ranging from glass jars with metal lids to a plastic tube container. All will be recycled with the glass and metal materials going into my curbside recycling bin and the plastic container being dropped off at my local L’Occitane.
Between 1% for the Planet’s 20th anniversary last year and Kate’s upcoming 10 year anniversary with the company in 2024, the busy environmental CEO made time to share some of her sustainable choices. Spoiler alert, one of them involves swapping single-use plastic for a reusable product.
What has your journey with 1% been like working towards making a better impact?
Like most worthwhile journeys, my time at 1% for the Planet has been shaped by challenges, successes and a lot of incredible learning. The common thread throughout the years has been the relationships with committed staff members, businesses, environmental partners, donors and others who believe in our potential and are willing to lean into the work. It’s deeply gratifying to look back and see our shared accomplishments of growth, impact and brand reputation—creating amazing momentum as we move into our next decade.
Rumor has it that you’re somewhat of an outdoor enthusiast. How do you maintain a sustainable lifestyle?
Absolutely. I fill my well by getting out on trails—anything from walking the dog to trail running or getting out in the mountains in sneakers, skis or snowshoes. Time with my feet on the ground and real elements on my skin changes my body and spirit, and I find it’s my meditative time as well. I live in a rural area, so access to what I refer to as backyard wilderness is my every day. When I travel, I always have my running sneakers along, and I love the way simply walking or running in a new place enables me to connect to that place and sometimes to share special time with others.
1% for the Planet consults with companies on how to have a positive impact. What brands do you use?
We have so many great brands in our network! I’m a new and huge fan of the BIOME+ ® line—from the cheerful brand color to the quality of the product (I’m deeply into the cleansing comfort balm right now, so smooth!), it’s an exceptional formulation for me. Other brands that are part of my everyday routine include Pukka Tea’s Peppermint and Licorice blend for soothing warmth any time of day, Klean Kanteen for keeping me hydrated without any plastic waste and Patagonia for keeping me warm whether I’m at work or on the trails.
What advice do you have for someone looking to improve their environmental impact?
Figuring out what to do can be overwhelming, but I’ve found that keeping it simple and starting small is the best approach. Choose one thing, make it a habit, and then add another. For example, if you want to start swapping out products for more Earth-conscious alternatives (like IMAGE Skincare’s BIOME+® or other certified brands!), tee them up to be ready once you use up what you have. The same goes for other aspects of your life like reducing plastic or spending more time outdoors—take one step, then the next. And, invite a friend along! If you’re new to a place, you can find a volunteer activity to meet people and build some momentum that way.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about adopting a sustainable lifestyle that people have?
That we have to be perfect. None of us are, and if we hold back or cover our light because we’re fearful of being called out for not being perfect, we miss an incredible opportunity to start making progress that we can build on over time. One of my mantras is progress not perfection—if we all make progress together, we can change the world!