Diego Carvajal

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when Diego Carvajal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Diego has moved beyond traditional forms of citizen participation, emphasizing the power of consumers, producers, and investors to effect social change with every economic choice they make. In this vein, he has created a set of new institutions that address the social impact of economic choices. To train the next generation of socially responsible citizens, he has developed a program called Agora, serving students at secondary schools. To promote consumption as an act of empowered citizenship, Diego is starting consumer movements that educate people and provide them practical opportunities to buy socially responsible products. He also supports the growth of businesses, helping them improve their income, introducing them to socially responsible practices, and engaging them in their communities’ social development. In addition, Diego creates micro-level sustainable enterprises in low income communities.

All of Diego’s efforts are carefully designed to reinforce each other. Agora, his training program, produces young people ready to become leaders for social responsibility in the citizen sector and in business. Corporations that embrace his socially responsible standards benefit from markets that Diego has prepared to recognize and reward their social value. Consumers trained through his work make responsible choices, pressing a larger number of businesses to join the movement. Even better, the training program finds a large part of funding from revenue generated by business and consumer programs.

As more and more people accept and advance his ideas, Diego keeps innovating, relentlessly envisioning the next critical step and taking advantage of new technologies to accelerate his plan. He knows that responsible investment is key to lasting change, so he is building a social investment system to offer economic and social returns to investors. Also, he is working out a structure for consumer voting through which consumers will be able to influence the social policies of companies. Finally, he is designing a transparency program to publish key indicators of social responsibility online, bringing real accountability to hundreds of businesses.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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