Carrotmob: Turning Environment-Friendly Business Practices into Profit
March 8th, 2008

CarrotmobWith thanks to Brent Schulkin.

Brent Schulkin is an experienced leader and sees himself as a Renaissance Man of modernity. He likes to think difficult problems have their effective solution and he believes this can be done by a change of perspective in the case of profit-centered vs. environment-friendly business practices. Traditionally, a company’s pursuit for profit implies a disregard for moral considerations tied to its strategies and a perceived inability to invest in environmental changes. But “if the environmentalist customers become the profit, than companies may have an opportunity to become more socially-responsible.”

The idea of customers rewarding companies with financial incentives for better eco-practices is at the core of the Carrotmob initiative, founded by Schulkin. It is a non-profit organization aimed at putting companies to the test and getting them through a selective process. It’s all about auctioning the best environmental practices in multiples industries. The company with the best environment-friendly offer gets short-term benefits — shopping campaigns by networks of customers, so that the company can cover easier its investments into greener policies — and long-term benefits — by nominating it as the most responsible company in its industry. The result is that the most socially-responsible business decisions get the most profit. This is a win-win relationship: customers are able to influence a company with their own values and the company will get to save marketing and advertising expenses by free positive promotion.

Carrotmob has a coherent plan of action for growing big from small by partnerships with larger advocacy groups — so it can use their research and infrastructure — and by building increasingly complex networks of consumers. The first step is to gather modest-sized networks of customers and to work locally with small companies, where the leverage of small networks does count and provides a change. As the networks of consumers and the number of partnerships multiply, gaining power, Carrotmob will address its calling to bigger companies and will extend its operations towards a global scale. More details in the executive summary.

True to its strategy, Carrotmob is launching its first ever campaign on Saturday, March 29th. The winning company of an environmentalist customers shopping campaign is K & D Market, in San Francisco. 22% of the gross revenue, tracked by the Carrotmob shoppers, will be spent on upgrading the store environmentally. Get into details here. Carrotmob is using the potential of social networks like Facebook and MySpace to take off and grow further, so you can link to it from there.

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