It’s been exactly one month since Carrefour launched their No-Plastic-Bags campaign and we can safely say that 95% of customers are shopping with their own bags.
What made this program successful over there other attempts by supermarkets which failed.? What turned this program from an inevitable failure, the threat of shutting down the program to what we achieved to-date? It is ALL down to one simple practise and the insight of exchanging self for others. Let me explain why?
Most businesses work on the principle of looking at the bottom-line. They think along the lines of will it affect our profits? Will we loose custom as a result of this? Can we make money from this? In the case of Carrefour, like many other supermarkets or businesses for that matter, an altruistic intention like ‘Saving our Planet’ may be what lies in the hearts of of the managers and staff, but they still need to make sure that they don’t loose money and/or upset the customers. In Bali, where there customers are a mix of local Indonesians, expats and tourists, they response to this program was mixed.
The tourists from foreign countries where there is a massive government push on businesses to reduce their negative impact on the environment, they are already used to paying for plastic and/or bringing their alternative bag. This program is like home so for them they are non-effected by the program and for those who see the plastic waste everywhere, on the beaches, in the rivers, on the sides of the streets, they are happy to see the program with some of them saying that the program should have come in sooner.
For the expats who have made a move to the paradise island of Bali, and have realised the rapid destruction of their new home and have seen what little to no impact any Government legislation has had on inspiring businesses to take action, they are most relieved to see the program in action and are in strong support.
But for the locals who have such a positive emotion associated with plastic bags, and who use the free plastic bags for everything including storing things, cleaning up accidents (food spillages, construction hazards and the sort) and for throwing away their daily rubbish or garbage, it is a massive inconvenience. Plastic has been such a benefit to their lives, an evolution in the way they do things, from plastic bags for takeaways food such as soups and drink, to almost anything you can think of including, the most bizarre, adding a plastic bags to the deep-fry of their pisang goreng (fried banner) to make it taste better! Plastic has taken this society to a level of commerce that has been more than warmly welcomed. For this reason there are many positive feelings and emotions associated with it. And even though many people are aware of the negative impact it has on the environment, the positive feelings far outweigh this hence this market place took quite negatively to the “Stop Plastic to Save Our Environment” campaign.
What was needed was to find a way to enlighten the marketplace to the negative aspects of plastic to such a point that it would outweigh the positive aspects. This required the simple education of the fact that ‘Most plastics used in our daily lives contain additives which release toxins’ these toxins, as explained by World Health Organisation and other leaders from around the globe give a sever risk of cancer’. With this information almost all (though not ALL) were ready for an alternative and further more they we’re prepared to pay for it! And this is where we came in.
After months of engaging shoppers from Hardys and Carrafour supermarkets we surveyed and interviewed over 8000 shoppers to educate them on this fact and to find out exactly what alternatives they would like and the price they would be willing to pay for them. Once we came in to Carrefour, who were on the brink of closing down the program a feel in to it from all the aggressive and negative response they had from the marketplace, and we started enlightening shoppers to this fact, the customer complaints dropped by a massive 90%. The feeling now was more disappointment that the plastic once thought so useful, is a serious threat to their wellbeing. It still left the question not just “What’s my alternative?” but the questions “What are my alternativeS??” and “How much does it cost me?”
The journey is far from complete, and in response to this customer feedback, and in a step to engage and motivate the residents on Bali, Carrefour launched two programs:
1- The “New Green Bag Design” which has gone out to 50 international and national schools in a commitment to engage the marketplace to start thinking of alternative shopping bags when going out shopping to replace their use for plastic shopping bags.
2- “Create and Innovate” the Next Generation plastic in an attempt to get everyone thinking of the alternatives that can be used to replace ALL plastic use in their daily lives. the best and feasible ideas will be presented to head office for implementation.
They have also committed to a third program to enlighten people further of the value of the plastic they are throwing away and will be hosting a Green Eco treasure hunt day, where the rubbish collected from all areas, beaches, rivers, streets, will be sold for cash.
How did the ideas for all of these promising programs come about? Because for the first time in the history of these programs were based around the insight gained from ‘exchanging self for others’ and determining how to best help, benefit and truly benefit people on numerous levels.
For more information on how to help, benefit and truly benefit people and as to how your company, business or charity can create similar effective programs for that triple bottom-line experience visit http://www.regeneratingearth.net and http://www.mindfulbillionaire.com