Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 2, 2005

Someone actually bought one!

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:50 pm

A few months ago, I posted this story about a company that sells “Car/SUV guilt reduction” — that is, for $30-$80 depending on vehicle type, they will sell you a bumper sticker and claim they are using the money to offset your car’s pollution. After expenses, of course, which no doubt includes a salary for whoever thought this thing up — and a target profit margin that exceeds that of the oil companies.

It’s basically like selling indulgences, which got a certain other religion (i.e., not Environmentalism) into trouble almost 600 years ago.

Well, people are actually buying them. Or at least, one person who works in my building bought one. I saw the bumper sticker in the parking garage this morning.


'Clean up after your car'

Which just goes to show — some people will buy anything. And that I will never be rich, because I can never figure out what “anything” people will buy. :-(

One Response to “Someone actually bought one!”

  1. Tom Says:

    Hey there — enjoyed both your posts on TerraPass. As you point out, people are buying. In just under 12 months, we have had a big and quantifiable impact — over 35 million pounds of CO2 have been reduced by TerraPass customers. That is bigger than the Starbucks April Wind Power Commitment. Most economist types love us, as we utilize market based approaches to combat pollution, and do it much more efficiently than an individual can alone.

    As for the money piece that a much larger discussion.

    >From a structural basis, two things drove our decision — it was much easier to raise capital (try raising this much unrestricted funding) and we also were counseled by senior non-profit leaders to launch as a for profit. A non-profit is still our largest shareholder.

    >From a personal note, many people make the argument that structure is less important — both non-profits and for-profits are run by profit seeking individuals. You make money as economist, and yet still may feel that you provide a social benefit. Many economists pride themselves on not selling out to Wall Street, but rather dedicating themselves to public causes or research. But they still make money. Why is that wrong?

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