Earth Day, Green America and Groupon Grassroots

In honor of Earth Day, every company that could pulled out their sustainability banner.

A long-standing environmental organization with environmental bona fides is Green America. Through their Green Business Network, they certify companies that are committed to social and environmental responsibility believing that “Business can change the world.” They also product Green Festivals, and I attended their expo at the Javits Center in New York yesterday. It was heartening to see various sized businesses and some truly wonderful product ideas. My favorite was from a company called Artterro. They produce eco-friendly art projects for kids. The box itself becomes the frame for saving the child’s artwork. If you’ve ever bought a craft kit for a child and cringed as I have at the amount of plastic they contain, this is a much welcome relief.

Another Earth Day event: the launch of Groupon Grassroots. This is similar to the work of donorchoose.org, which in this case allows individuals to donate small amounts of money to local schools. It is crowdsourcing to fund raise. Unlike donorschoose, the Groupon site broadens the charities being served beyond education.

My issue with Groupon is in the languaging of this. If you look at the picture, its says “Buy”. It doesn’t say donate . As I write in Compassion, Inc. as charity moves further and further into the world of consumerism it has serious social consequences–too many to outline here but issues I will be addressing over time.

I am glad to see that Groupon is doing something to generate funding for local organizations–truly. However, they should not have simply rejiggered the existing website template. Someone needs to re-think this so that the site fits the underlying social intention.

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