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Coming soon to a town near you - carrotmobbing

From Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad:

"The phenomenon is initially American, but already a local chapter has been formed in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The philosophy is simple: rather than boycotting shop owners for not doing enough for the environment, carrotmobbers use their consumer power to reward those that do..."Instead of telling the shop owner: we're not going to buy from you anymore until you invest in making your shop more sustainable, we will go to his store on a particular day with a bunch of people to shop. In exchange we ask that part of the money we've spent is invested in green management."

Carrotmob was founded in the US by Brent Schulkin. In a short film on the website, Schulkin recalls his first Carrotmob action in March 2008. "I went to 23 liquor stores in my neighbourhood (...) I asked them what percentage of the money that we spend are you willing to set aside for energy efficiency improvements in your store. (...) When the dust settled the highest bid was 22 percent." Schulkin says the action was a success: the store's turnover that day went from 1,800 to more than 9,000 dollars, enough for the owner to spend some money on making the lighting and the cooling installations in the store more environment-friendly".

Hmm, sounds rather more benign than boycotting, but also sounds like a collossal pain for shopkeepers. It also puts owner managers at a huge advantage over chains. Other issues would be whether the trader will keep his or her side of the bargain, and adjusting the ever present cynical hat, one also wonders whether it is especially green for folk to go out of their way - doubtless burning up lots of fuel in the process - to patronise (pun intended) whichever trader wins the auction. Further, I imagine that consumers might not be quite so loyal as the manifesto suggests.

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