Unilever, Carrotmob put down roots to increase consumer influence

A scrappy social venture organization is joining forces with one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies to increase the influence of consumers on sustainable consumption.

Carrotmob -- which organizes crowdsourced “buycotts,” in which consumers use their purchasing power to push businesses towards sustainable-minded actions -- has brokered a partnership with multinational powerhouse Unilever.

“We want to scale it to factories and big policies,” said Brent Schulkin, Carrotmob’s founder. Schulkin started the carrot-instead-of-a-stick approach in 2008, when a small liquor store in San Francisco installed more energy-efficient lighting after customers “mobbed” the store by shopping on a designated day.

Since then, the organization has worked with its widespread network of “carrotmobbers” to spearhead over 250 campaigns in 20 countries with small and medium-sized businesses.

Under the Unilever partnership, Schulkin said, Carrotmob consumers around the world will determine what action they would like Unilever or one of its brands to do -- and dialogue with the company to reach an agreement on an action that the company is willing to take after a given amount of money is spent on a target product.

Below is a brief video of Shulkin describing Carrotmob at the 2012 GreenBiz Forum.

Next page: The first "buycott" with Unilever


Photo of a bunch of carrots by Kaye Lee via Shutterstock