Conference : International Conference on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Date : 12th September 2015
Venue : Lim Goh Tong Lecture Hall, Faculty of Business, Universiti Malaya
Workshop : Consumer Boycott
Consumer Boycott – Definition:
Consumer boycott is the act of boycotting the products or services that are directly consumed by the market. These products are selected due to the contribution the companies are making towards the development or occupation in Israel.
In the workshop, the group has decided to discuss on three (3) different areas of interest, which are the, (1) the reasons for boycotting, (2) the selected products for boycott, and (3) the modus operandi of boycotting.
1. The Reasons for Boycott.
There are several whys and wherefores of boycott. There are as stated below:
a. Generate Public Awareness
o To generate public awareness on Israeli Apartheid and occupation on the Palestine soil.
o To create awareness and gather international support.
b. Apply Economic Pressure
o To apply economic pressure for change on the manufacturers and Israel in general.
o To prove that boycott is working on putting pressure on the manufacturers
§ A fifth of Israeli exporters reported a drop in demand due to consumer boycott following Gaza attacks
§ At New York Stock Exchange, Coca Cola and MacDonald shares slumped.
c. Build People Power
o To invite consumer participation because people is powerful in creating path to destruction or development
o To encourage wide participation among consumer.
o To instil awareness on products and services that is related directly to daily consumptions and usage.
d. Promote Collectively
o To strengthen the power of purchasing through a bigger crowd as awareness or campaign becomes more powerful is promoted collectively
o To remind stores of the importance of minimizing the supports towards the occupation and the regime.
o To avoid re-stocking of goods from the manufacturers that support the human rights violation
f. Force Changes
o To initiate force change in the business policies of the companies.
o To look at the legal point of view on how the companies or the manufacturers can revisit their market and sale objectives.
g. Creating optimal impact
o To target the right products or service
o To strategize on the ‘hows’ of conducting the boycott that can give impact to the market.
h. Create broader campaign.
o To understand that consumer boycott are most effective when part of a broader campaign against a particular product.
o To aim in increasing pressure on the retailer to stop selling a particular Israeli product.
B. Selected Product
Malaysia has been conducting boycott on several manufacturers throughout the years and each has proved to be successful. Boycott has been done on four (4) products since 2009, such as:
(iii) Coca Cola
The boycott on these products will continue until target is achieved and in the meantime, the objectives of the boycott should be revisit to measure the success rate of the activity. In the workshop, there are several more products are listed during the workshop as potential products such as:
(i) Hewlett Packet
(v) Ahava (Lazada has known to sale this product in their website)
From the workshop, it has been decided that the latest product to be boycott is Hewlett Packet
C. Modus Operandi
For this consumer boycott, our priority is to know what exactly what we want to do and how to go about and conduct it after the BDS Movement is established. There are several ways that had been brainstormed by the group.
a. Develop Research Team
o To understand how product is contributing to the occupation and human rights violation.
o To identify the target user
o To find more local products as an alternative to the boycotted products as this involved emotional dependency.
o To invite the participation of social experts
b. Identify Target Product
o To firmly agree that HP – as one of the biggest players in the technological devices in the local market – helps in providing services and products to the Israeli government.
c. Engage with the Manufacturer/Friendly bodies/ Trade Union
o To create a friendly liaison with the Trade Union as a backup plan to support the employees of the company.
d. Set Timeline
o To work within the timeline in order to observe and monitor the progress of the boycott.
e. Promote alternative brand
o To identify local or international products that can be a substitute to the target products.
f. Diverse Action
o To collectively appeal to consumer on the reasons for boycotting the product(s).
o To write letter to the company and organize picket and etc.
o To meet and discuss any possibility of withdrawing from the business with Israeli
g. Create High Impact Activities
o To encourage the involvement of Public Figure
o To educate people of diverse age group, for example, children, through school talk.
o To spread message through culture and norm, for example, music and impactful short film.
Question & Answer Session
Question /Comment 1:
Alternative Products. The questioner is very interested to know on this move because his group has never thought about this before. He wished to listen more on this idea and hope to be able to work together on exploring this area.
Boycott Continuation. The questioner is asking on any possible move that should be taken towards McDonalds as they are now using religion to win their market. They have started to sponsor religious figure to certain mosque and play with the sentiment. He asked whether it is worth to continue with the boycott campaign?. And if so, how do we bring the boycott to a higher level campaign?
He gave Cadbury as an example. Cadbury is now building back the trust of its customer after the porcine incident.
We are identifying the possible lead towards the boycott because many years have been spent on this. However, we still want to make sure that we can achieve the objectives of this boycott by revisit the objectives. We need to know the success rate and the impact of consumer boycott towards the manufacturer.
Boycott Product. We should focus on one target product only.
Educate Employees. We should not stop boycott the four products. We need to continue with the move but at the same time we have to identify other perspective of the boycott campaign. For example we should be on the side of the employees because educating employees is also a point and strategy. These employees should know that we are not targeting them but the company. We should also work with a particular organization that can give these employees support if they are being laid off from their employment.