Business Sailing Ships Carrying Coffee: a Sustainable Step Forward?

Published on September 10th, 2012 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Sailing Ships Carrying Coffee: a Sustainable Step Forward?

sailing ship

The notion of using sailing ships to transport cargo probably seems like a giant step backwards: engine-powered ships of one kind or another have been around since the 18th century. But, of course, those ships require fuel… and, more than likely, that means carbon emissions and other pollutants. The shipping industry has experimented with reintroducing wind power… but nothing quite so anachronistic as bringing back the purely sail-powered ship… right?

Well, in some cases, merchants have given old-school sail power a shot. Several chocolatiers, for instance, have played with the concept. And now Carrotmob, the company that made “buycotts” a household word (or, at least, a known concept in the progressive community) is challenging Thanksgiving Coffee to go sail-powered. The incentive? Carrotmob is working to sell $150,000 worth of the company’s products. Here’s their pitch video:

This is Carrotmob’s first completely virtual effort: to date, they’ve focused their buycott/cashmob concept on local brick and mortar businesses and in-person events. This looks a lot like Kickstarter-style crowdfunding, except customers get their product regardless of whether the campaign reaches its goal. If it does, though, Thanksgiving has already agreed to give the sailing ship idea a try.

Need a pound of coffee? Check out Thankgiving’s choices through the Carrotmob  link. If they hit their goal, we’ll certainly keep an eye on the progress of their wind-powered transport plans.

Image credit: Dietmar Temps via photo pin cc



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://www.greenheartproject.org Gavin Allwright

    Carrotmob and Thanks Giving Coffee – we love your vision, awesome idea.
    At Greenheart, we are designing and building sail-solar trading ships for the developing world, primarily to do some of the things that you guys are setting out to do. The ships will be owned and crewed by the communities they serve. Our friends at Fair Transport with the Tres Hombres have been making sail-cargo real for a few years and are an inspiration to us all.
    We have designed the ship along with an open source design forum and the designs will be kept open source to encourage innovation and adaptation. We just launched a crowd funding campaign to help crowd source some of the financing but to also bring a larger group of supporters on board and share the adventure. http://www.indiegogo.com/greenheart

    We want to help, let us know how!!

    Greenheart

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