The PosiPair story

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

Sarah and Ben ManskiSarah 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 told her, "because it was the right thing to do." But they didn't stop there. In interview after interview they continued on and told her what they needed.

Green business owners said they couldn’t find an effective way to communicate to their customers everything they had to done to make their products in a responsible way. 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 chiefly shutting down corporate offices and meetings, many of their friends were spending their time 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 "efficient." 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 the extraction industries and their 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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Natural Ingredients: A product labeled "natural" should be made up of only, or at least almost only, natural ingredients and be manufactured with appropriate processes.Safety: A product labeled "natural" should avoid any ingredient that has peer-reviewed, scientific research showing human health or environmental risk.Responsibility: A product labeled "natural" should use no animal testing in its development except where required by law.Sustainability: A product labeled "natural" should use biodegradable ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging.Products must follow guidelines set out by the Natural Products Association to merit bearing the seal. The criteria include, but are not limited to:Product must be made up of at least 95 percent truly natural ingredients or ingredients that are derived from natural sources, excluding waterNo ingredients with any suspected human health risksNo processes that significantly or adversely alter the natural ingredientsIngredients that come from a purposeful, natural source (flora, fauna, mineral)Processes that are minimal and don't use synthetic/harsh chemicalsNon-natural ingredients only when no viable natural alternative ingredient are available and only when there are absolutely no suspected potential human health risksTransparency and full disclosure of ingredients per CSPA Voluntary Ingredient Communications Program utilizing INCI labeling standards for each ingredient, the substance must be listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used in accordance with FDA's good manufacturing practices (GMP) and contain no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by FDA or EPA or has been reviewed using criteria in this Standard. NPA has developed the NPA Illustrative List as a reference document for the NPA Natural Standard and iCertification Program for home care products.
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