Main Street bar the Cascade Room is hoping its customers will reward its pledge to go green.
Through organizing an event called a Carrotmob, they've pledged to put all the money they make in one evening toward making the business more environmentally sustainable.
"As a restaurant we're very responsible for the amount of waste that we consume, or put into refuse, so as a restaurant community we think we need to be more enlightened and actually start making some changes," said Cascade Room co-owner Nigel Pike, who's hoping for hundreds of customers at the June 27 event.
The watering hole will need to raise at least $10,000 to cover the cost of the improvements they've promised, which include a new low-flow dishwasher, an oil-filtration unit and a composting system. They've pledged 100 per cent of the one-day takings toward this project, but if they don't hit the $10,000 mark, the restaurant will kick in the rest of the money. "We've definitely over-committed ourselves to this event," said Pike. "We'll probably be outlaying as well."
"It takes quite a bit of energy to heat the water, and because the new dishwasher is low-flow, it'll require half the water and half the energy," said Joshua Schmidt, the environmental consultant organizing the event. "The oil filtration system they'll get, that would effectively halve the oil use and also prolong the equipment life."
The Cascade Room was selected for the Carrotmob through a Facebook vote. Previously, Salt Spring Coffee Company, also on Main Street, was selected for a Carrotmob in 2010.
Schmidt began organizing Carrotmobs-also referred to as "buycotts"-in Victoria in 2009. He thought that encouraging consumers to "vote with their dollars" for green businesses was a refreshing alternative to more standard forms of environmental activism.
"I think environmentalists were traditionally thought of as very anti-business, like, 'We're going to chain ourselves to something,'" said Schmidt. "This is a great way to effect environmental change, it seemed very different from the traditional activism, which was very negative."
Schmidt has seen examples of businesses getting a taste for sustainability through Carrotmobs and then going even greener on their own volition. "The first event that I did was in Discovery Coffee in Victoria, and we ended up raising around $3,000 for improvement to their waste treatment. Now they're moving toward being completely zerowaste," said Schmidt.
"Ultimately, I would like to see [Carrotmob's ideals] grow. I would like to see them taken on by the community to make them happen."
Although the idea of volunteerorganized Carrotmobs has taken off throughout the United States and Europe, Schmidt mentioned that, as a project sponsored by the City of Vancouver, this is only the fourth such event receiving "mainstream support."
"This is a great way to do it because ultimately people will say, in the face of a giant issue like climate change, 'I don't have to conquer the whole thing, I can organize with a few friends an support a business that's moving in the right direction.'"
The Carrotmob at the Cascade Room (2616 Main St.) takes place 5 to 9 p.m. on June 27. The venue will also open for a special lunch to celebrate the Carrotmob event and broadcast the Euro Cup semifinal soccer match from 11: 30 a.m. to 2 p.m. the same day.