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Giving Back


You may have heard about companies pledging five or even ten percent of profits, but this rarely stacks up to 1% of sales and may result in zero donations in a down year. For example, the average profit margin at an S&P 500 company is about 5%. This means they would have to donate 20% of profits to equal 1% of sales. Finally, profits - unlike sales - are easily manipulated (remember Enron?). Pledging a percentage of sales keeps everyone honest by ensuring donations get made year in and year out, with less room for accounting tricks.

KOR’s mission is to “Protect and Celebrate Water.” From day one, we have donated at least 1% of our sales to non-profits that focus on water-related issues. Transparency is also a big part of who we are, so we would like to explain in detail how our donation programs work.

From the Beginning: One Percent for the Planet

Since launching in 2008, we’ve been members of 1% for the Planet, an extraordinary organization started by one of our heroes, Yvonne Chouinard (incidentally, also the founder of Patagonia). To maintain membership, businesses must donate 1% of their annual sales to a select group of non-profits that have been admitted to the program. Businesses can donate to any of these non-profits as long as their donations total 1%.

Each year, the 1% team reviews our tax returns to determine our required donation. Then they follow up with the non-profits to whom we donate in order to make sure our donations total up correctly.

While 1% of sales may not seem like much, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Like us, most 1% member businesses are startups, which means they are barely profitable, if at all. Therefore, donating 1% often means the difference between the owners taking home a salary and not.

2009: Thirst for Giving™

On World Water Day 2009, we launched our Thirst For Giving™ program, which links each of our colored vessels to a different water-related cause. This didn’t change our relationship with 1% for the Planet (they still oversee our donations), but it did provide a new way for us to talk about the issues and highlight the non-profits to whom we donate. And by linking cause with color, it gave our customers a way to display their passion for their favorite cause.

We are often asked whether we donate to each cause in proportion to the sales of the linked color. The answer is no. Because some colors are more popular than others, we didn’t think it would be fair to penalize a non-profit just because it was linked to a less popular color.

Why a percentage of sales instead of profits?

2009/2010: Special Edition Vessels

In December 2009, we launched our Special Edition Vessels to bring further awareness to our four water causes. Initially, we sold these online only and donated $5 from each vessel to the linked cause. In February 2010, we began selling them in retail stores and changed the donation to 5% of the $34.95 suggested retail price.

What's Next?

We have many other ideas to raise funding and awareness for water issues and will be rolling these out in the months and years ahead. We also hope to add more non-profits beyond the four to whom we currently donate. One thing that’s unlikely to change is our affiliation with 1% for the Planet. Another is the idea of linking colors to causes, which we think is a powerful way of putting a spotlight on the issues. We hope you’ll stay tuned and keep in touch. If you have questions or feedback about our donation programs, don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@korwater.com.

How Does KOR Give?

Hydration Vessels

Special Edition

Gives To Gives To

1% of Sales

5% of the
$34.95 MSRP

facilitated by

facilitated by

I Percent Logo KOR Water Logo

Who Receives the Donations?

a purchase of any of these colors go to...

Gives To Gives To Gives To Gives To