Why ‘Buycotting’ is The New Form of Political Activism
How ethical consumption could make or break your business
It was the year 1880. Charles Boycott was in charge of the management of the lands of a powerful Irish landowner, Lord Erne in the Lough Mask area of County Mayo. Charles exploited and abused the farmers to the limit. He was aggressive, petty and arrogant. That year, harvests were heavily spoiled and the peasants, with barely anything to eat, called for a reduction in rents. Mr. Boycott refused and tried to serve eviction notices to those who protested. The farmers joined, rebelled and agreed not to work with him. The revolt soon included the local businesses who, in solidarity, turned their backs on the tyrant. In the end, they succeeded, even the postman joined the protest and stopped bringing Boycott his correspondence. The rest is history. The Times coined Boycott’s last name to describe a protest tactic, one more than still emerges as an important political weapon more century later. Boycott became a verb and the despicable symbol of collective activism.
Nowadays, a new mode of political activism has emerged, the reverse modality of boycott: The Buycott, which is, actively buying products that respect certain values or ethics in order to generate a movement towards fairer production processes, both from an environmental and human point of view. Today, consumer activism not only focuses on stop buying a certain product or brand but on making conscious, ethical purchases. These two behaviors, both active and passive, integrate what is known as conscious consumption or political consumption. But can we change a corporation’s behavior with our wallets? And, as buyers how powerful are we?
From the #GrabYourWallet movement to the #DeleteUber controversy, buycotts have become the most effective form of political activism. Consumers are taking an ethical stance towards their spending more than ever before in history. Political consumerism is on the rise and presents an opportunity to bring serious social justice issues to the marketplace. A new report from Weber Shandwick shows that buycotts are slowly overtaking boycotts as the preferred method of consumer activism. The study found that 83 percent of consumer activists agree that is it more important to show support for companies by…