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Don't buy a product, save the world?

December 4, 2015

Don't buy a product, save the world?

By Kim Yen White
Friday 4 December 2015

There is no escaping the fact that shopping season is upon us; stores declare their oversized discounts on equally oversized signs on display windows, newspapers bulge with inserts boasting the best deals, junk mail folders contain double the number of pages and exclamations promising huge savings.

From these indications alone, one would think the driving force of today’s civilisation involves relentless, if not indiscriminate, consumption. If there is one thing that an environmentally-responsible business grapples with, it is toeing the line at increasing profit margins without creating excess need and output. How do you develop a viable business model that balances profit growth viability with eco-consciousness?

The answer, it seems, might lie in “anti-marketing”. Consider REI, a company that sells outdoor sport equipment via a co-op system in which members (instead of shareholders) can purchase products and also receive dividends (in lieu of discounts) at the end of each financial year. This year, instead of enticing members via sale prices, the company is opting to close its stores on Black Friday (traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year in the US) with the message to its workers to spend the day outdoors.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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