Environmentalist mob heads to local coffee shop
Published Saturday, May 15, 2010 12:08PM PDT
Eco-conscious consumers are putting their money where their mouths are Sunday, and will be buying drinks and snacks at a Vancouver coffee shop to push their green agenda.
The Carrotmob initiative is a reverse-boycott that encourages businesses to become environmentally friendly by spending money at their stores.
"There's an old saying that there are two ways to make a donkey walk forward: Either offer a delicious carrot out in front of it, or hit its behind with a stick," the Carrotmob website says in explanation of its name
"The impact is going to be pretty big in the sense that a lot of money is being committed to energy efficiency improvements," organizer Emily Jubenvill told ctvbc.ca.
Salt Spring Coffee on Main Street has agreed to put 100 per cent of revenue earned during the Carrotmob on Sunday towards reducing its environmental footprint, and then contribute another 10 per cent of that final total.
"This location has been here for quite a while," said Ronda Simpson, the sustainability coordinator for Salt Spring Coffee. "We have three different types of lighting and they're all from different eras, and they're highly inefficient."
The shop plans on researching and installing better lighting alternatives, including motion sensor lighting into the washroom.
On a normal Sunday, Salt Spring Coffee brings in $1,000, but with Carrotmobs elsewhere having doubled, tripled or even quadrupled sales, Simpson said she hopes to get lucky and earn $4,000.
"Carrotmob takes on its own life in each city it's in. It creates a snowball effect," Jubenvill said.
The consumer network began two years ago in San Francisco and has since crossed the globe to spur mobs in cities in North America, Europe and South America, according to the network's main website.
When Omar Israel started the Vancouver chapter a year and a half ago, he focused on building partnerships with liquor stores. After that didn't work out, he and Jubenvill joined forces and targeted coffee shops.
They got in touch with five shops on Main Street, and then filmed interviews with shopkeepers about how they'd spend money raised during a Carrotmob.
They posted the videos online, and asked people to vote for the best coffee shop and have a say in how the money would be used. The poll racked up more than 850 votes, with Salt Spring Coffee taking the lead at 39 per cent.
Organizers expect between 200 to 500 people to show up and buy something at the event, scheduled for between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
"It's an organic thing, you show up and support when you think it's important. It has that flashmob feel to it. You put in a little bit and get a significant impact," Jubenvill said.