July Green Guru Spotlight: Increase Sales with Green Program - Carrotmob and Unilever





Marketing, PR, Sales…are you looking for a new, fresh idea to get publicity or increase sales? And score points for being green at the same time? Or are you perhaps looking to engage the demographic that uses Social Media?  Read on about how Unilever, a behemoth consumer products company with over 400 global brands, has teamed up with Carrotmob, an inventive, social media website that organizes consumers to vote with their wallets for companies and products that proactively support the environment.

CarrotMob believes in using a carrot (“buy more”) to get businesses to become sustainable instead of using a stick (“boycott”).  A group of people make an agreement with a business that if a certain number of people spend a certain amount of money, the business will make an improvement that makes it more sustainable. For example, after a negotiated agreement, the Coffee Cat Café in Santa Barbara was “mobbed” by 400 people who collectively spent an amount that enabled the Café to install energy efficient lighting.  According to the organization, more than 100,000 Carrotmobbers have spent over $1M improving sustainability at businesses around the world with over 250 campaigns in more than 20 countries!

Unilever, a global company with over $50 billion in annual sales, launched its ambitious Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, based on the conviction that “businesses that address both the direct concerns of citizens and the needs of the environment will prosper over the long term.” The plan also helps Unilever prepare itself for the environmental changes that it believes lie ahead. The plan has three main goals to achieve by 2020:

  • Help more than 1 billion people to improve their health and well-being.
  • Halve the environmental footprint of Unilever products.
  • Source 100% of agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhance the livelihoods of people across the Unilever value chain.

The Carrotmob and Unilever partnership (first announced in 2012) is the first time Carrotmob has teamed up with a global business.  “Carrotmob and Unilever's product portfolio will work together to explore and develop various campaigns that support Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan. Launched in 2010, the Plan provides Unilever with a roadmap to sustainable growth. Unilever portfolio brands will partner with Carrotmob to execute campaigns that encourage environmentally or socially responsible actions. To make it economically viable for the brand to take action, Carrotmobbers will have the opportunity to buy products to support the campaign.”  The campaigns jointly developed by Carrotmob and Unilever are expected to deepen consumer engagement, generate brand loyalty based on sound values, and advance sustainability at many levels. 

Watch this video for how a Carrotmob-Unilever pilot program at a Fresh and Easy store in Pasadena, CA, mobilized consumers to buy specific Unilever brands and help the store acquire some eco-friendly equipment. Lou Paik, the West Division Shopper Marketing Manager for Unilever said, “Supporting products and businesses that do the right thing creates a climate for change. We are exploring opportunities like this with Carrotmob to bring retail marketing programs to our customers that no one has seen before.”



Use Carrotmob at a personal level to get a local grocery store, restaurant, coffee shop or neighborhood store to do something that makes it more sustainable. Or explore ways that your company can partner with Carrotmob – it can be a powerful tool for your marketing or CSR initiatives! Email if you want to brainstorm or share ideas on how to use Carrotmob or other similar initiatives to drive sustainability.


Green Guru: Suparna Vashisht, July 2013

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