An institution manifests itself in the context of Consumerium Services several ways:
- a source of terminology, e.g. standard labels
- a set of institutional buying criteria it applies to its own purchases
- entities like Slow Food that define and encourage local purchasing
- the origin or authoritative position-definer of a faction, e.g. Catholics would generally look to the Vatican, an institution, to define their position, while Greens might look to the Global Greens, Blues to the WTO, Purples to the World Bank, trade unions to the International Labour Organisation.
It is sometimes possible to influence various policies of an institution by direct feedback, e.g. a wiki or writing letters to its officers. This might affect its institutional buying criteria or help it decide to work through Consumerium Services and recommend them to its own buyers and suppliers:
For instance the Green Party of Canada has a 'living platform' wiki that lets the public edit policy directly. This might eventually have some influence, direct or indirect, on purchasing policies of the Government of Canada, which purchases hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and services per year. Institutions often have much greater leverage, and are much more intent on avoiding controversy, than individual buyers, although they are much harder to budge. If you influence an institution, try to get it involved.