PALO ALTO, Calif., May 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- While 82 percent of Americans prefer to shop in an environmentally-friendly manner, only 16 percent are actually able to do so. Two-thirds of the U.S. population is stuck in an all-important gap known as the Mainstream Green or Green Gap (Ogilvy & Mather). It is likely that other countries are facing a similar or worse dilemma. How consumers respond to this challenge will make or break humanity.
In recent weeks, climate scientists and journalists have been debating whether or not we've approached a ten-year cliff in regard to global warming. By the time this new hypothesis is vetted, it may already be too late for humanity. In the meantime, life on Earth will become untenable for hundreds of thousands of other species too. Assuming the worst, what can we do to quickly curtail climate change? There's only one prognosis: we need to cure capitalism, the crisis' culprit.
Commonstake (http://www.commonstake.com) was created by Scalechange with this sticky situation in mind and its creators drew inspiration from Occupy Wall Street's ability to bring corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the masses. What emerged in 2015 was a proprietary social media platform featuring user-generated content and the ability to discuss and rate companies in regard to environmental, social, governance (ESG) performance. After two years of R&D, there is a new and much-improved version of Commonstake launched on May 24, 2017 privately to beta testers. "Imagine GoodGuide, Yelp, and Reddit merged together to create a platform for sustainability— that's Commonstake," explained Kimberly Phan, Scalechange's Chief Operating Officer.
In order to get our global economy to work for us instead of against us we need to connect the dots between consumers, companies and causes through crowdsourcing. "If we can inform ourselves and one another, more people will be able to invest in companies that share their values and divest from those that do not, supporting companies that implement environmentally and socially positive practices, while increasing the incentive for irresponsible companies to improve," said Ben Miller, Scalechange's Chief Executive Officer.
Scalechange aims to advance citizenship in the private sector and believes that consumers aren't able to shop in accordance with their values due to two main factors. First, there's a scarcity of accurate information regarding companies' social and environmental impact that, combined with an overabundance of misleading marketing (i.e., greenwashing), makes it an extremely difficult economy to navigate. Also, billions of people belong to households struggling to get by financially making it unrealistic to expect them to burden the relatively high cost of most so-called sustainable products.
Through seven years of innovation, Commonstake has evolved into a platform offering a two-fold solution addressing both the information problem and pricing problem fueling the aforementioned Green Gap. Regarding information, crowdsourced data via user-submitted news articles, op-eds and ratings on companies' ESG practices, engages consumers in a way top-down resources never could. Regarding pricing, Commonstake incentivizes sustainable shopping and user activity through its rewards program, offering points that can be redeemed as equity in Scalechange, transforming consumers' perception of sustainable indulgence into one of social-enterprise investment. "Commonstake empowers stakeholders as shareholders, turning consumer citizens into impact investors," said Tom Lonesome, Scalechange's Vice President of Development.
Corporate citizenship is not a new topic but one of its components has recently gained a lot more attention: climate change is the one commercial issue that connects us all directly and comes with a strict deadline in the true and morbid sense of the word. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, with the current rate of extreme weather conditions, 10 percent of the global population is at risk of forced displacement caused by global warming by the year 2050. The world needs you to take action on its behalf; in addition to shopping responsibly, you can do your part by beta-testing Commonstake, providing Scalechange with valuable feedback with which to make improvements before it becomes available to the general public in July. Sign up here: http://beta.commonstake.com.
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