Don’t Underestimate the Power of ‘Wallet Activism’

A recent op-ed from Fast Company’s Liz Segran paints an inspiring picture of the impact consumers can have on poor corporate behavior, positing that “wallet activism” works as — if not more — efficiently than any other change agent.

Using the drawn-out implosion of Ivanka Trump’s brand as an example, Segran argues that “our individual purchasing choices do matter: We have the power to kill off brands and force the industry to do better.”

“[It] almost doesn’t matter whether you were more offended by her father’s child separation policies or how ugly her cork pumps were,” whatever your reason, not buying her shitty product was what ultimately caused Ivanka’s brand to shutter.

And it’s not just Ivanka that’s feeling the affect of changing consumer priorities. Across the board, “we’re just not into it anymore,” she writes. H&M’s revenues “are plunging dramatically. Zara’s parent company Inditex is seeing sluggish sales this year, driving its shares to a three-year low, [and] Forever 21 reported a $40 million loss at the end of 2017.”

When taken together, all of this is a sign that “we’ve lost our appetite for fast fashion,” she argues. “We’re telling brands to stop treating clothes like they are disposable, cut down on pollution, and treat their workers with more dignity — and they’re listening.”

Is this an exaggeration of our consumer-held powers? Perhaps. But in these dark times, hope is important.

You can read more about it at Fast Company.

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