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Economy & Business

Sustainable Pittsburgh Plans Day of Intentional Shopping

In an attempt to draw attention to local businesses, Sustainable Pittsburgh coordinates days for “mobs” of consumers to be intentional with purchases and support stores committed to green practice and sustainability.

Sahar Arbab, a Green Cities Sustainability Corps fellow with Sustainable Pittsburgh, organized the most recent “Cash Mob” this past November in Ambridge. Fifteen businesses were involved in the day-long shopping spree. The organization is offering an opportunity for communities to apply to host a cash mob in June. 

Business district leaders, advisory committee representatives, chamber of commerce members, or community members can apply to host a mob until April 10.

Nationally, cash mobs promote shopping locally; to host a cash mob in Pittsburgh, at least three businesses in the community must be certified sustainable.

“Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Cash Mobs are specifically designed to recognize sustainable businesses that have received recognition through our sustainable small business program,” Arbab said. “Businesses go through a checklist and answer yes or no to different actions in the categories of things like energy conservation, lighting, electrical use, community involvement. For every question they answer yes to, they get points. These points go toward varying levels of designation.”

Once a community is selected, Sustainable Pittsburgh works to promote and coordinate the event with the businesses. 

“Typically its members of the community,” she said. “We do different campaigns to make sure that people are aware of it and that they come out and shop at their local businesses. Some people that are just interested in shopping green and shopping sustainable might come out too. But really we hope that it’s the community that comes out to support their main street business district.”

Arbab said the event promotes shopping locally to support the community and sustainable practices.

“Most recently in Ambridge from conversations with business owners, they told me that they had new people coming through, they were curious about their business, they hadn’t noticed it before, therefore (the program) gained (the stores) exposure,” she said.