Thursday, June 5, 2008

The carrot or the stick?

My typing abilities aren't what they used to be since I've broken my elbow, but Ill try to get the occasional one-armed post to the Insource/Outsource front page.

Behold: The Carrot Mob!

Carrotmob will be a non-profit organization. Our goal is to improve the world by helping companies embrace socially responsible choices. Our primary focus is the environment. We recognize that corporations must keep profit as their top priority. Historically, this fact has meant that the environment has suffered, since companies have made more money by harming the planet. We are going to put rewards in place that will make environmental responsibility the more profitable choice. Companies will do what we want, not because of negative pressure, or morality, or a boycott, or a petition...there are enough sticks out there. We need a big juicy carrot. They will do what we say because they won't be able to resist the profits.

We will create a large network of consumers. We will form partnerships with other larger advocacy groups to use their research and infrastructure. Together we will identify opportunities for improving corporate behavior. For example, let's say there's an environmentally harmful chemical in common brands of soap. We would approach several competing soap companies. We will explain the problem, and see which of them is willing to eliminate the harmful chemical. They will bid for our support. Each company will raise the bar with how much good they are willing to do. Perhaps Company X pledges to remove the chemical. Then Company Y pledges to remove the chemical and reduce factory emissions 20%. And so on. The bigger our network, the further they will be willing to go. We accept the best offer. Company Y agrees to take the steps that we want, and then we make it worth their while with a carrot: Everyone in the network buys millions of dollars worth of their soap, and in the process Company Y gains a wealth of reputation capital as well. The most responsible business decision also gets the most profit. Delicious!

Carrotmob Makes It Rain from carrotmob on Vimeo.