The Widdershins

Activist Wednesday: Is Boycotting Our Secret Weapon?

Posted on: May 22, 2013

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Many apologies, but this is going to be a short post today. I’ve got so many “deep thoughts” in my head that I can’t focus on just one. (I keep thinking of Prolix’ question, “What do you do?” and I definitely want to write about that, but I need to think about it some more first!) So instead of posting something long and deep, I’m going to go with brevity being the soul of, er, something or other.

I noticed an interesting story in USA Today about boycotting. An international survey of people in 10 countries, has found that a very large percentage of the people polled are in favor of it, and over half have already done it.

Nine out of 10 consumers say they would boycott companies that are being irresponsible, according to an international “corporate social responsibility” report being released Wednesday.

And it’s more than theoretical exercise: More than half of consumers in 10 countries say they have refused to buy a product in the past year because of what they saw as bad corporate behavior, according to the report by marketing and public relations agency Cone Communications, which has specialties in cause marketing and corporate social responsibility.

That might not bode well for Gap, Wal-Mart and other U.S. retailers that so far have not signed a labor-backed plan to improve factory safety while they work on alternative plans. Pressure for a factory safety agreement intensified after a factory in Bangladesh making clothes for major retailers collapsed in April, killing 1,127 workers.


Cone says that nearly 90% of consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding where to shop and that it is important for retailers to communicate about how products are made. The report says that a growing concern for consumers in the survey was economic development — 38% cited it as their top concern, up 4 percentage points since 2011 — followed by human rights, poverty and hunger.

The report also shows, however, that though consumers may boycott companies they see as guilty of bad behavior, they will only favor one they see as better-behaving if the price and quality of its products are about the same.

So tell me, Widdershins – have you ever boycotted a company? If so, which one, and why? Maybe we should all be doing the same.

This is an open thread.


8 Responses to "Activist Wednesday: Is Boycotting Our Secret Weapon?"

Exxon I still do not buy their Gas…Also BP I don’t buy their Gas. I do Buycott JC Penny because they have been very supportive of the LGBT Community and I believe thay are pulling out of countries that have unsafe factory conditions for their textiles.

I have boycotted Georgia-Pacific products, owned by Koch Industries, for several years now. Reasons should be obvious!

Lord, yes.
I haven;t bought Shell since the 1978 gas crisis, Exxon since The Valdez, BP ince the Gulf. I stopped shopping at Sears after Andrew when Allstate bailed out of Florida, Walmart because of their labor pactices, and McDonald’s because of the importation of foreign beef. I will not give to any charity that uses professional fundraisers, nor to the United Way or the Red Cross after their figures were published. I prefer the Salvation Army, which has negligible administrative costs.

Yep on Ga. Pacific products and “da brohs”. On BP, I did boycott at first and then thought “nah, I want them financially able to pay all those billions they’re gonna owe in fines.”.

Where do I start with my list of boycotting — Exxon, BP, Denny’s, Cracker Barrel, Wal-Mart for any number of reasons.

Contrary to what Mitt Romney and his ilk believe, “Corporations can only be human when they have a conscience and sensate awareness.” For most, that day will never come and I’m glad to never darken their doors.

Prolix@5: What on earth *do* you buy, and where? 😯

@6, I’m a hungry, naked Appalachian, but I have very strong opinions.

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