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Carrotmob comes to Saskatoon

By in News

KAROL KUDYBA
News Writer

Making money while saving the environment? Impossible! Or so we thought.

Carrotmob, the activist organization that promises profits as well as environmental sustainability, is coming to Saskatoon and focusing on local coffee shops.

In a Carrotmob campaign, a series of businesses compete to pledge a percentage of their profits towards an environmentally friendly upgrade, such as a new lighting system or energy saving windows. In our city’s case, the winning coffee shop will be the one that pledges the highest percentage of its sales towards an environmentally friendly or sustainability focused upgrade to their business for one business day.

Swarms of people dressed like vegetables will descend upon the winner and overwhelm them, albeit with profits instead of a gruesome death.

As a reward, the winning business will receive an energy assessment by Integrated Designs and will be financially rewarded by being “mobbed” by consumers at an agreed upon date tentatively set at either Feb. 26 or March 5.

The whole process is delightfully animated on the Carrotmob website. It has a jazz sound track and features a big machine that shoots oil into the water and hits people that come nearby. You should watch it; it’s hilarious.

By being able to put the pledged profits back into the business in a productive way, the prospective coffee shop does not have to worry about losing too much of their vital profit margin. From a purely economic standpoint, it may be well worth it for the winners if they can make up all their donations with the prospective large one-day windfall of customers that comes with it.

The coffee shop wins and the environment wins. So really we all win — but no one’s getting a car, so stop asking.

The result would be very similar to the 1978 film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, in which swarms of people dressed like vegetables will descend upon the winner and overwhelm them, albeit with profits instead of a gruesome death.

Since its San Francisco inception in 2008, Carrotmob has established movements in such far-off metropolises as Berlin, Sydney and Minneapolis, and has created a constructive impact across the globe.

These tactics are much different from those used by other globally concerned activist groups such as PETA, whose protests have garnered attention by having near-naked models hold signs in public areas. Those protests’ effectiveness in sub-zero Saskatoon were tested Jan. 7, as lettuce-clad PETA ladies hit the streets.

The name Carrotmob originates from the idea of using the incentive of a carrot on a stick, trying to get companies to change their Cyril Sneer-like ways through positive enticements rather than protests or throwing paint on fur coat wearing bystanders. As such, their methods have been described as a “buycott” instead of a boycott. Cute.

There is still time for any interested coffee shop to apply, and for more information on the Saskatoon project, those curious should visit the site saskatoon.carrotmob.org. No oil spilling video on that site though. Save the environment!

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image: Danielle Siemens

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