Means Meter®

A Platform for Socially-Purposeful Consumerism

Imagine a web service that gauges if what you buy matches your social beliefs and goals.

Imagine an automated personal shopper that applies your beliefs to:

  • Analyze each product’s origin, energy, labor and other supply chain characteristic and
  • Ranks the choices according to the data you trust most and the ideals you hold most important.You don’t have to imagine that anymore. That’s what we’ve called the Means Meter®.Shoppers using the Means Meter would earn points, much like cash-back rewards. Many credit card programs send you a set catalogue of largely unattractive choices for how to spend the points you’ve earn. Means Meter  points are different:
  • Save or spend them,
  • Donate them to your favorite charity,
  • Invest them in microenterprises and businesses promoting social goals in regions you care about,
  • Let a proposed affiliate, GoodBank™(IO), use them to make credit available on cheaper terms to needy families, businesses and nonprofits, or
  • Let our affiliated foundation use them in projects that grow the sustainable resiliency® of regions and social causes you care about.Means Meter reward points serve as a true complementary currency for the socially-purposeful consumer, earned by spending socially well, spent and invested to make regions even more socially-equitable, sustainable and resilient. See Sustainable Resiliency®.The Means Meter would let consumers create and use social affinity groups for meaningful causes that improve people lives. Means Meter users’ aggregate market power could demand that industry and government become more accountable for remediating energy, public health, fair labor or 1,000s of other social goals. In turn, users could opt-in to hearing from companies about corporate efforts to address social concerns of most significance. Likewise, users could enable video, audio and other content to educate themselves about the issue’s severity, where and how it’s being dealt with best and what nonprofits and social entrepreneurs are innovating solutions.The Means Meter® would be agnostic. It won’t preach what social values you should shop with, it analyzes the range of choices for implementing your social goals. (Of course, illegal social goals would be rejected).Affinity groups and activists will have access to new forms of aggregated consumer social values data from which to advocate more effectively. Much like daily stock prices at the close of each trading day, we will publish the affinity concerns rankings and the demographics of shoppers using those concerns.

    Privacy and identity protection is a primary concern in designing the Means Meter’s technology. We aim to put the consumer in charge of their identity. We will only share aggregated (grouped) data that keeps user identity anonymous.

    Net, Net, the Means Meter would let consumers broadcast their social goals out into the marketplace, and through analysis of corporate environmental, governance and social impacts, to balance out the information conveyed through traditional advertising aimed at shoppers.

    The Means Meter gives consumers the means and incentive to change their world.

     

Bruce Cahan

Bruce Cahan is CEO and co-founder of Urban Logic, a nonprofit that harnesses finance and technology to change how systems think, act and feel. He is an Ashoka Fellow, an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, a Distinguished Scholar at Stanford mediaX and a former CodeX Fellow at Stanford's Center for Legal Informatics. Bruce was trained as an international finance lawyer at Weil Gotshal & Manges in NYC (10 years) and as merchant banker at Asian Oceanic in Hong Kong (2 years). Bruce graduated The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (B.S. Economics 1976) and Temple Law School (J.D. 1979). Bruce has been licensed to practice law in California (2006), New York (1980) and Pennsylvania (1980).

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