GREENtuity, or Tipping for the Environment

The Toronto Green Community, a local grassroots environmental organization, thinks it has a plan to help save the environment. They want me and you and others who shop at a selection of local stores to do something normally reserved for bars, restaurants and, uh, your friendly neighbourhood valet - leave a tip.

It's all part of an initiative called GREENtuity that takes place between April 16th and 26th. Participating retailers include familiar names like Kakayo Chocolate, Grassroots and Rowe Farms. The idea is that when shopping at one of these stores they'll ask if you want to add a $1 tip to your purchase. There's no obligation, and quite frankly, I'd be a bit surprised if there's a huge response rate. I hope GREENtuity (or, I guess, humanity) proves me wrong.

To find out a bit more I connected this morning with Laura Casselman, a volunteer at GREENtuity. Here's our brief Q&A:

GREENtuity is an interesting concept. But why did you decide to ask customers to add a $1 to their purchase rather than ask retailers to donate $1 from sales?

We wanted to engage individuals in the process. When they go to a participating location they have an opportunity to make their own contribution. Engagement of customers also helps to spread the word about the event, the Toronto Green Community and green businesses in Toronto.

What, if anything, are retailers doing beyond collecting the money that's added as a tip? Are they donating any of their own money?

Participants are not directly donating any of their own money but they are donating their time in helping to engage the customers. One variation of GREENtuity is with Kakayo Chocolate store. They are creating a signature GREENtuity truffle in which all sales will go to GREENtuity and ultimately, the Toronto Green Community.

How many retailers do you have on board so far? Is the list final? If not, how many do you hope to get?

We have 13 participants so far across the city. The list is not final and we welcome new participants. Our goal is to get 20 participants with green mandates. They can join anytime during the week. The list so far includes: Vegetarian Haven, Burger Shoppe, Rice Bar, Ten Thousands Villages, Grassroots, Merchants of Green Coffee Inc., Kakayo Chocolate, Front Door Organics, The T Cafe, The Papery, Salad Creations, Panacea Eco Shop and Rowe Farms.

Given that there must be costs associated with running this program (administration, printing the GREENtuity card etc.), what percentage of the $1 tipped will make its way to a green project?

100% will go to the Toronto Green Community. GREENtuity volunteers started this project knowing that we have zero budget. All our volunteers have generously donated their time.

Printing costs were sponsored by I.C. Printing & Graphics Ltd. & RealCash Bancorp Inc. Pistachio is hosting our media launch. Steam Whistle has covered the cost our news release on the Canadian Wire. White Lioness Media is creating a video for GREENtuity.

How much do you expect to raise during the week?

Our goal is to raise $5,000. Individuals can also donate on our site at

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