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The PosiPair story

Starting a business was not the original plan. Our original plan involved one project: discovering why some business owners decided to invest their time and money in doing the right thing.

Sarah Manski was a graduate student in Life Sciences Communication, and what later became PosiPair was originally her research for her masters thesis. She interviewed hundreds of business owners. She asked them, "why did you decide to go green?" They simply told her, "because it was the right thing to do." But then, invariably, they continued, and shared something more. They told her what they needed.

Business owners said that they couldn’t find an effective way to communicate to their customers all the great green features of their products. Paying hundreds of dollars for a print ad, or thousands of dollars for a table at a green business trade show, was often not effective, and it was crazy expensive.

Additionally, business owners really wanted to be green from top to bottom, not just piecemeal, but they couldn’t find truly green suppliers for all their business needs. Doing that would be quite a research undertaking.

And then there was the greenwashing. Business owners who are making socially responsible choices are forced to compete on price with people who are making similar, but unjustified, claims. Let’s face it, there’s emerald rainforest green and then there’s pea soup green. We all need a way to quantify effort and investment, otherwise the green economy stagnates.

Sarah heard all this, and more. A light bulb went off in her head (a high-efficiency, long-life lightbulb of course).  She turned to her husband, and said, "let's start a business."

Student labor march in Decatur

Now, you should understand that starting a business was one of the least likely things for Sarah and Ben to have done. They are activist types who first met in the anti-corporate hay days of the mid-1990s.

Those students sitting in against sweatshops? 

They were the first. Those tree-huggers blocking logging roads and locking down in corporate offices? They did that. Those unionists walking picket lines and striking for more power and respect on the job? Check that too.

They believed some in the carrot, but mostly in the stick. And the good news was that the stick seemed to work most of the time.

While Sarah and Ben (and many more) were mostly shutting down corporate offices and meetings, many of their friends were mostly planting carrots. These people poured their sweat equity into community supported agriculture, local business alliances, local currencies, cooperatives, organics, independent media, and more. The carrot planters succeeded. Many of them even prospered. And somewhere along the line, not so long ago, the traditional business community began to take notice.

Plant more carrots

Maybe they'd gotten sick of the stick. Maybe they smelled the carrots. Maybe both. And maybe it was just the rise of new generations: Gen X and Y putting their values into their work in the same way that previous generations had changed their own worlds.Today, for businesses everywhere, green is good. It has become a core economic value, like "low cost" or "effective." And this means that today, the carrot can work as effectively as the stick in moving our economy, and society, to a more sustainable, democratic, and socially just future.

PosiPair is our founder's best effort to help the green economy grow. But they need your involvement. PosiPair allows users to enter in information about where things come from, who adds value, where they are sold, and ultimately, where everything ends up. Can we map the entire green economy? Can we help the green economy to support and police itself?

As newfound champions of the carrot, we believe so. And as experienced wielders of the stick, we remind you that the alternative to PosiPair is a green economy regulated by WalMart and its friends in government agencies.

PosiPair isn't just a business, it is also part of a movement. We heard you. We know that you need greater visibility, information, and transparency. We've delivered.

Use PosiPair to plant more carrots.

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A community-led transition to the new economy. We're way beyond green.

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