Spain: solidarity through internet and e-commerce

Editor’s note: Inez Ramirez is a CEO and co-founder of Furnit-U, a collaborative design platform for furniture and decoration in Spain. This post was published earlier on her Spanish blog

Spain: both people and businesses have gone through a bad time last few years. The crisis has left a mark on all levels of society. Anyone who lives in Spain knows what I’m talking about, as we have collectively witnessed these things take place.   

But the crisis has also nurtured our more caring side: the desire to help each other. Examples of this can be found on the web as well, where many projects with a social or co-operative goal have emerged. 

Fairchanges: online fair trade market 

Fairchanges serves a good example: it's an online fair trade market, where artisans and small businesses can sell their products without intermediaries. Off-course all products traded are environmentally friendly and no child labor was used to produce them. This way clients of the website can be sure that the products they buy are produced with the highest ethical standards. As CEO Christina Palacios puts it: “with each purchase we make, we make a choice”

 Shopciable introduced a different way of eCommerce: instead of buying directly at online stores, you can buy through this platform: for each purchase you make, money is donated to a good cause of your choice. Luckily for the consumer, the price stays the same, as the shops accessible from this platform, donate part of their income to the NGO or project you have chosen.

Shopcialble explained: 1. Choose a shop, 2. Choose your cause, 3. Buy and donate 

Shopcialble explained: 1. Choose a shop, 2. Choose your cause, 3. Buy and donate 

Another good example of solidarity is Grinbuzz Internet. The company is paid for displaying promoted videos. It uses 80% the money it earns with this business, to help children in Ghana, India and Bolivia.This way it converts our relatively little investment (time and efforts to watch a video)  into a practical instrument to help other people.

Screenshot of the Grinbuzz website: registrate, then watch video's for a good cause

Screenshot of the Grinbuzz website: registrate, then watch video's for a good cause

There are also projects that focus on cooperation between people.

Platforms like OuiShare inform about projects and events related to collaborative consumption. Then there is Tutellus, which aims at sharing knowledge and MeetMeals where people can get to know each other over lunch or dinner.

All kinds of online video courses available at the Tutellus website

All kinds of online video courses available at the Tutellus website

In fact, co-creation and the wish to overcome differences between people has been the basis for Furnit-U, the project I am currently working on. We believe that there are lots of people that come up with ideas about what future pieces of furnitures should look like and how it can improve people’s lives. We think theses ideas are worth to share. 

But it gives hope to see that, faced with difficult situation, we came up with new ideas to help each other out and to change the world we live in. 

Inés Ramírez