Carrotmobs Offer Sustainable Incentives

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Last week while sitting in my Humans and Environmental Change class, I discovered that as consumers we hold much more power than we may realize. We don’t just hold power in controlling what businesses are most successful by consuming their products. One non-profit organization has started to show the world a different way we have power: Carrotmob.

Initially, besides being completely thrown off and curious about the title, I didn’t have the slightest clue what this was. However what I came to learn about the organization made me realize the power we consumers have to influence and even change a business’s green efficiency.

Carrotmob, which was founded in San Francisco in 2008 by Brent Schulkin, is a nonprofit group of consumers whose goal is to get businesses to become more environmentally sustainable. They use consumers as power in hopes of persuading businesses to go greener. Breaking the process down looks like this: a mob will choose the small business that has the strongest plan of going green, pick a day to gather at their store, and buy as many products as they can.

Now here is where some of you might be thinking that the store benefits by making a profit, while the environment suffers. However in this situation both the business and the environment win. The store gets to keep a portion of their proceeds but must agree before the Carrotmob starts to use a portion to make their business greener. Since 2008 Carrotmob has spread like wildfire and is now established all over the world in places like Canada, Germany, Australia, and Thailand.  In the future, Carrotmob hopes to expand their group and persuade bigger businesses to become greener. For now, Carrotmob continues to strive to influence smaller businesses to become more environmentally sustainable.

As college students we are the generation that is going to have to pitch in and help turn around the environment. Although some things will not be able to be fixed, one thing is for certain: we are going to learn how to live in a world where consumers and businesses coexist and relate on terms that go beyond money. Carrotmob allows for consumer and businesses to work together by creating a solution that benefits both the business and, most importantly, the environment. Being part of a Carrotmob will help you engage in a process of cleaning up the environment that is unlike any other. Through Carrotmobs, both small and large businesses will be enlightened by a greener approach to product sales. This process can only take place one step at a time and Carrotmob is a good first step to businesses becoming greener.

If you are interested in joining a Carrotmob, visit www.carrotmob.org. The next Carrotmob will be held on April 25 at Duboce Park Café here in San Francisco. Get out there and join a mob!

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