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Carrotmob: Get Involved!

6/8/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: carrotmob, activism, social change, green business

I care a lot about supporting businesses that do the right thing, and I want to encourage other businesses to follow their lead. But as a working mom, I don’t always have time for activism. Now, Carrotmob, a project of Virgance, a for-profit activism company, (meaning it gets revenue from people using its system) is making social activism—without boycotts, rallies or protests—easier.

Carrotmob seeks to bring about social change by rewarding the most socially responsible businesses through consumer spending. Photo Courtesy Virgance. 

Carrotmob seeks to bring about social change by rewarding the most socially responsible businesses through consumer spending. In an organized Carrotmob event, retailers make competing proposals to green their stores. The winning business gets “mobbed” by consumers who reward the business by buying its products.  Even if the business doesn’t earn enough money from the Carrotmob event to cover the cost of its improvements, it gains a reputation as an environmentally friendly business and a network of loyal customers. 

The first Carrotmob event took place last year at a liquor store in San Francisco. The owners agreed to invest in upgrades to make its store more energy-efficient. In exchange, hundreds of Carrotmobbers spent more than $9,000 at the store. 

Getting involved is easy. You just sign up on Carrotmob’s website and wait to be informed of an event taking place in your area. Carrotmob encourages people to get involved by simply doing their normal shopping. For example, if there’s a Carrotmob event to help a hardware store go green, simply join the “mob” and stock up on whatever you would normally buy. 

In April, Carrotmob created an “organize” section on its website that lets grassroots Carrotmobbers use blogs to organize their own events. Within a month, 10 events have taken place or are in the process of organizing across the United States, as well as in Canada, France and Finland. 

To check out events in your area, visit the Carrotmob blogs or sign up to receive e-mail updates.

Virgance’s other activism projects include One Block Off the Grid, Lend, Go Media and Green Fund.

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