Carrots and Sticks are Greening the Marketplace

Consumers are showing increasing ingenuity in using their money to protect the planet.

The original marketplace campaigns revolved around boycotts (think Cesar Chavez, farmworkers, and grapes) — an effective "stick" if there ever was one, considering the whipping grape growers needed to take before they were willing to treat their employees fairly.

Carrots_bunch_2  Big Green Purse has been more focused on a "carrot" approach. Too get product manufacturers to reduce pollution and limit their contribution to global warming, Big Green Purse encourages consumers to favor the products that offer the greatest environmental benefit (think compact fluorescent bulbs over incandescents, or organic food over conventionally grown fruits and vegetables). The rationale? Consumers can strategically use the money they spend on eco goods and services to create incentives for companies to produce even more eco options. Though there’s been virtually no forward environmental motion in the legislative arena over the past decade, the marketplace has been greening like gangbusters. Consumers — especially women, who spend $.85 of every dollar – can accelerate the trend by being even more intentional about the products they buy. Choosing goods that are certified sustainable (like lumber made from FSC-certified wood, or tile made from SMaRT-certified linoleum) sends an even bigger, louder message to companies that there is more money to be made in going green.

(This idea has gained so much traction, it’s got its own conferences. Sustainable Brands ’08 just concluded – read an excellent summary by Mary Hunt over at In Women We Trust.)

Carrotmob Another way to dangle the "carrot" is to persuade retailers that their entire business — not just sales of one or two products — will increase if they transition to a more environmentally responsible operation. CarrotMob has proven that this approach can be pretty tasty to shop keepers. The organization queried several liquor stores in San Francisco about their interest in saving energy. The one that vowed to save the most – 22% – received not only CarrotMob’s blessing, but the benefit of an organizing campaign that increased store sales more than three-fold — on just one day! Customers could buy whatever they wanted; the store donated 22% of its sales to energy-saving measures that would reduce its own healing and cooling costs, among other benefits.

As legislators increasingly fall prey to polluting political action committees, or the confounding complexity of dealing with so many different party leaders, it’s increasingly apparent that real environmental change can and must be driven by the marketplace. And what makes the marketplace so powerful? All of us green consumers — and the "carrots" we’re dangling.

One Response to Carrots and Sticks are Greening the Marketplace

  1. michelle June 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm #

    NOW people can join the movement and flush their dog poo- They can use FLUSHADOO. THE Numer 1 Flushable doggy doo bag.
    FLUSHADOO is a flushable, water soluble, eco friendly, doggy doo bag. It is the modern GREEN alternative to plastic doggy doo pick up bags. It is safe for septic tanks and easy to use.
    Most importantly, FLUSHADOOs stay out of landfills, oceans and helps to keep our waterways and planet clean.
    Sadly, plastic doggie doo bags are both prolific and devastating. During the 1,000 years they take to decompose they leak a toxic mix of plastic particles and dog waste. Bacteria seeps into groundwater by poor dog waste practices.
    Our waste is strictly treated so why should pet waste be different? Dr. Gurminder Singh of the UCLA Green Institute believes FLUSHADOO is the environmentally friendly and responsible way to dispose of dog waste.
    Untreated dog waste is washed into rivers, lakes, bays and oceans by rain. Waterways are adversely affected by dog waste. Scientists have even labeled this concept “The Fido Hypothesis.” Dog waste contains E. coli, Salmonella, and Bellyworm.
    Though the EPA is gradually requiring states to comply with the Clean Water Act, currently most dog waste sits in plastic wrapped time-bombs in landfills. In addition, over the last 50 years, every piece of plastic that has made it from our shores to the Pacific Ocean has been breaking down and accumulating in the central Pacific gyre which is now referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
    Be part of the POO-LUTION solution, by using FLUSHADOO on your next walk with your four legged best friend. Say NO to plastic and JOIN THE MOVEMENT by using FLUSHADOO.
    For more information about how you as a dog owner can help keep our planet healthy visit or call 877-DOFLUSH.
    also…take note!
    FLUSHADOO helps support HEAL THE BAY ( in Santa Monica, Ca.
    FLUSHADOO is a California based company.
    FLUSHADOO are available online–and at certain retail stores.

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