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September 14, 2012 / Elizabeth

Buy coffee AND fight climate change (with carrots, not sticks?) Yes, we can!

Guest post by Carrotmob Founder Brent Schulkin.

Carrotmob is a new way for people to influence businesses to make them more sustainable. Instead of organizing boycotts, we offer to spend money as a group to support a business if the business agrees to make an improvement that we care about. Everyone wins – businesses get money and we achieve unprecedented social impact. And it works.

Like Green America, our mission is to harness consumer spending power to incentivize businesses by proving that there is market demand for sustainability.

We just launched our first ever, global climate campaign with Thanksgiving Coffee Company, a fair trade, artisan coffee roaster in Northern California, as well as a long time Green Business Network member. The family-run company buys coffee beans from small farms and cooperatives around the world, and already embrace cutting-edge sustainability practices.  But we challenged them to do even more, and they have stepped up to the challenge:

Thanksgiving has agreed to embark on a journey to become the first coffee company in modern times to transport their coffee beans by wind-powered shipping instead of using container ships fueled by oil!  However, they will only be able to take this action if we can prove that there is demand for sustainably transported coffee by buying $150,000 worth of coffee through the Carrotmob website.

http://carrotmob.org/thanksgiving 

I’m asking you to help make this vision a reality. All you have to do is buy this “extraordinary, luxurious coffee.”  Nope, I didn’t make that up – it’s straight from Coffee Review, I can personally vouch that the coffee is delicious.

Global shipping currently accounts for more than a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Since coffee is the most widely-traded agricultural commodity in the world, the potential impact of this campaign is enormous. Small coffee companies have already transformed industry practices. For example, just look at the increase in fair trade sales over the past decade.  A move by small coffee companies to wind-powered shipping could be game-changing not only for the coffee industry, but for other industries like chocolate, sugar and more.

If this campaign is successful, we’ll be able to change the practices of other large businesses. We would also love to work with Green America in the future to design fair trade campaigns. Imagine how many businesses we could convince to adopt the fair trade model? But that won’t happen unless we get enough people to buy this coffee right now in order to send a message. I appreciate the support, and we’d love to hear any of your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Brent Schulkin
Founder of Carrotmob

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