An environmental group has targeted a Park Slope hardware store for not being “green” enough — but don’t expect a boycott.
In fact, the group is doing just the opposite.
On Sunday, Dec. 14, Carrotmob NYC, a local incarnation of a San Francisco-based group, will hold a three-hour “reverse-boycott” at Tarzian Hardware in hopes of raising money so that the store can become more energy efficient.
Here’s the idea: By using the “carrot” of consumer purchasing power instead of the “stick” of boycotts or protests, Carrotmob promises to bring in a mob of shoppers in exchange for a commitment to use that money towards a green end, in this case, a commitment from Tarzian to install energy-efficient lightbulbs and a cleaner heating system.
“The goal is to inspire businesses to become more environmentally friendly,” said Alyssa Koob, who represents Carrotmob’s New York City chapter. “Businesses will do anything for money. On the other hand, boycotting them doesn’t really help [make them become greener].”
John Ciferni, who owns the Seventh Avenue store, said he expects to “double our revenue [that day].
At first, Ciferni admitted he was a bit confused when the Carrotmob approached him one month ago.
“I had never heard of anything like this before,” said Ciferni. “At first I didn’t know what to expect, but now it really seems like a win-win kind of thing.”
Ciferni is even planning to go above and beyond the green improvements that Carrotmob has suggested.
“If we have some money left over, I’d like to use it to start a neighborhood recycling program,” said Ciferni. “The energy-saving light bulbs [we plan to install] have mercury in them, and people just throw them away. There aren’t a lot of places that recycle them, because it’s too expensive.”
Carrotmob began six months ago, and the group’s story was soon picked up by CurrentTV, a network founded by former vice president Al Gore. It has since organized similar events in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Bristol, England.
Tarzian Hardware [193 Seventh Ave., between Second and Third streets in Park Slope, (718) 788-4120].
©2008 Community News Group
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