Buy One, Get One Freedom

Reading an article in the Financial Times magazine that my dad shared with me last week I learned about Global Ethics or http://onedifference.org. It’s a company taking on the task of making conscious consumption a part of our daily routine. It gives supermarket shoppers an opportunity to make a powerful decision when choosing mundane staple products like Water, Toilet Paper, Eggs and Condoms. Packaged with the ONE brand, buying these items (still priced competitively) connects the profits made with corresponding development projects undertaken by the one difference fund.

one products - one difference

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Brands like Evian and Fuji mark up their “specialty spring water” a gazillion percent compared to real cost of processing and bottling water. This understanding allows Global Ethics room to shave down the margins and use the would be profits for various development projects they run.

This is exciting because it seems to be the next evolution to Bono’s Product Red concept where he tied up with companies like Gap and Nike to have a small portion of one of their products contribute to the Global Fund for Malaria. While this was a cute gesture by some thoughtful corporates, One has taken it to the next level.

it makes a lot of sense, in our world of continuous consumption, that money we spend on things without thinking too much can contribute to development projects. I think the idea of giving in the charity sense and it’s psychological guilt-driven feel good (smug) factor is not sustainable or appealing to the masses who are obsessed with curbing their taxes. If you want them to give something, you have to give them something back in return – this is the principle upon which (unfortunately) our modern society has been built. Therefore lets leverage this madness of consumption and use the money generated for development projects.

“The whole thrust of Global Ethics, thought, is to be a normal, competitive, innovative, butt-kicking, hiring-firing business – but one that is crucially different in the one respect of its profits not enriching owners or shareholders, but villagers in Africa.”

A great social business to keep an eye on.

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