The Consumer Movement

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            The branch of the Anti-Sweatshop movement that has the most public exposure is the consumer movement. Big brand names, like Nike, Reebok, Gap and Disney, rely on an “image” and the ability to satisfy consumers’ concepts of lifestyle and identity in order to sell products. Because of their dependence on how consumers view the brand, and how they view themselves wearing the brand, the apparel industry is vulnerable to consumer boycotts. Consumers have the power to demand that companies change their treatment of workers or else lose their customers. Similarly, since the late 1990s increasing numbers of investors have been making informed choices about how they invest their money and are purposefully avoiding investing in companies that use sweat-shop labor. In addition to putting pressure on corporations, by buying products from companies that do not use sweatshop labor consumers can strengthen these socially responsible companies, making them better able to compete with the other brands and provide alternative employment for workers.