The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Investing/Strategies / Socially Responsible Investing

URL:  http://boards.fool.com/in-fact-boycotts-are-so-successful-and-so-26085428.aspx

Subject:  Re: Why SRI? Date:  11/9/2007  9:48 PM
Author:  5000fingers Number:  2212 of 2248

In fact boycotts are so successful and so powerful that it's hard to imagine why this tool is not utilized more often by advocacy groups.

Huh? My observation is that of all the boycotts that have been started, very few have accomplished much. SRI hasn't done much either, but only because so few people have tried it.


Surely you can't be serious. You've never heard of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which ultimately led to sweeping civil rights reforms in this country? Or the boycott of the Nestle Corporation, which led to sweeping changes in how infant formula is marketed to third world countries? The table grape boycott, which led to sweeping changes in farm worker's rights and conditions? The tuna boycott, which led to sweeping reforms in fishing practices and the Dolphin Safe label? Ever hear of Mahatma Gandhi? South Africa and apartheid?

Sure, you could point out that the majority of boycotts called for by this organization or that organization have not succeeded. But only because their cause didn't strike a chord with people, or it wasn't publicized very well. And in these situations, certainly SRI would be even more impotent.

Imagine you had a fantastically, phenomenally successful boycott of Mobil/Exxon. Say, for the purpose of discussion, you got fully 50% of all stockholders in that company to sell their stocks over the span of a year or two. Two things could happen. Most likely, these sales would likely have very little impact on the share price. However if they did, that would only lower the P/E ratio of the stock, making it all the more attractive to other investors who didn't want to punish this particular company for whatever its evildoings may be. So then the stock price gets bid right back up, and all of those directors and top management people you mentioned aren't the slightest bit impacted by the most successful SRI boycott imaginable.
Copyright 1996-2014 trademark and the "Fool" logo is a trademark of The Motley Fool, Inc. Contact Us