World wide web of good

Posting for Always On, Scott Lenet, Co-founder and Managing Director of venture capital firm DFJ Frontier offers a compelling case study of corporate citizenship. As William McDonough argues, “Commerce is the engine of change.” One of DFJ Frontier’s funded ventures,World of Good, is attempting, and so far succeeding, to change the ways that first world consumption affects third world production (and social) systems.

When consumers can get information easily that allows them to compare alternatives, prices reach equilibrium and unfair advantage tends to disappear.

But imagine this model turned upside down, where the power of the internet could be used to help uninformed suppliers in a market where buyers have all the control. Craft producing villages around the world have little access to market information on the selling price of their goods as they move through the global supply chain. These producers rarely have the ability to assess the value of their labor and are unable to negotiate prices to ensure that they live above the poverty line.

This is why World of Good founder Priya Haji has introduced web-based floor pricing technology for worldwide distribution to craft producers. Literally anywhere in the world, a producer, their representative, or a buyer can test pricing in real time. This calculator shows how the price of goods compares to United Nations indicators of poverty and international labor wage data. Immediately, artisans can use this information to negotiate market prices while buyers with conscience can see how their pricing policies compare to their intentions. Using the internet, World of Good embodies a key requirement for free markets: the free flow of information.