The next good thing: PROJECT GOOD

[Originally posted on November 29, 2007]
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point in the last few years it became cool to be what is now (affectionately) called “socially conscious”. Folks being conscious of their social impact is nothing new, but buying organic/fair trade/green used to get me branded as a treehugging, free-love-loving, ganja-smoking hippie (which, umm, may or may not be true) — yes I live at Haight/Ashbury, but c’mon people, I own an SUV*!
Marketers have given this raaapidly growing segment of our population a nice name. We are the LOHAS market, which according to the Wiki is an acronym for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability that…in year 2006 was estimated at $300 billion…market [domestic].” Did you catch that? Let me repeat: $300 BILLION. A few weeks ago at GreenFestSF I got a glimpse of alll the different things people are doing to get your dollars and grow that market, including everything from “green” mattresses to anti-oxidant wonder juices to ethical investment funds. But unlike other market opportunities (like, say, oil) this market is all good because it’s all GREEN, right? Psh.
Home over Thanksgiving I picked up my wonderful hometown publication, The Sacramento Bee, to read the following unsurprising headline: Many ‘green’ claims may be shady. Umm…you think? And many claims, even if they’re true, are waaay over-hyped as the most AmAzInG thing when in fact they’re quitemediocre; not to name names but one bottled water company (Ethos) donates a nickel a bottle towards international water development projects, and they charge $1.80 a bottle…you do the math. Clearly, there needs to be a way to figure out what’s really good, and what’s not so good.
Project Good
It’s not here yet, but Project Good will be a marketplace where you can see how legit — or good, if you will — products really are. You know a rug is Fair Trade if you can trace that rug back to the smiling rug maker in Afghanistan who made it. You know how much of your money is going where you want it and how much is going to line the pockets of sharks trying to play you a FOOL (sorry, got a bit carried away) if there is transparency. You know you want something like this…well, Project Good is coming.
You can learn a bit more about Project Good at, a placeholder site for the marketplace which will be launching soon.  Project Good is a collaboration of eBay and World of Good, and the product of years of work; I highly encourage you to sign-up …
[alright, I think it’s time for full disclosure…I’m consulting for Project Good on marketing, specifically to help drive sign-ups and interest pre-launch — so yes, by signing up you’re doing me a favor : ), but no, I’m not misleading you about the potential of this marketplace. It is the brainchild of some close friends who are truly building something amazing (guys, don’t let me down here!)].
So sign-up and stay tuned….

* Which I never drive…and even still, it’s carbon neutral : )

[One comment from Andrew Warner: "Really? They only give away a nickel? That’s the kind of thing that turns me off to the “conscious” movement. I signed up to Project Good, because I don’t want to become cynical. Thanks for the link."

[One comment from Ron Robins: "Project Good — is good! People should also apply such personal values to their investments too though.
My website, has the latest socially responsible investing news, as well as a free e-newsletter.
Best wishes, Ron Robins"]
[One comment from Seema Shah: "Great post, Sundeep! Businesses will undoubtedly try to ride the wave of any growing market by appealing to the consumer through some heavily marketed but watered-down value set. In the eco-conscious market I think this is called “green washing.” These guys make it increasingly difficult for socially conscious consumers to make good choices… we’re excited to address this with WoG (eeeEEEE!!).
BTW, you should be posting to our community site. In private beta right now but I’ll give you access.
Also love that you’re trying to qualify your SUV. :) The fact that you’re maximizing usage of that p.o.s. (kidding!) is def worth something… demand for new cars inevitably creates lots of waste"


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