June 9, 2016

What happened to boycotting supermarket branded milk?

The Project host Waleed Aly got the masses revved up on May 16 when he urged them to boycott supermarket branded dairy products: Aly was so fired up that he described it as his “greatest call to arms”. A few weeks later and we’ve all noticed the social media furore has died down, and a few of us are left questioning the usefulness of conscience boycotts.

The Guardian identified last year the ineffectiveness of grassroots campaigns: ‘While these sorts of campaigns are useful for expressing displeasure, they aren’t all that successful when it comes to changing a company’s policies,’ Bruce Watson wrote. The American writer then gave the example of the 2003 US boycott of French wines, which caused an immediate 26% drop in sales but had almost no impact on the industry over the long-term. ‘“Within six months, says Larry Chavis, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “sales had returned to the same trajectory that they had been on before the boycott.”’

The Australian dairy industry is undoubtedly in crisis, and government bailouts are not a long term solution, despite The Age’s editorial on May 30 recommending federal emergency solutions because the boycott’s ‘moves are not only misguided in the short term, but will do little to save the local dairy industry’.

Meanwhile on social media, a post went out on the ‘Dairy Farmers Need Your Help please’ Facebook page yesterday calling Murray Goulburn suppliers to an extraordinary general meeting of the board…


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