September 20, 2007 —
In the mid-1980s, INFACT (Infant Formula Action Coalition) began a boycott campaign against General Electric. The maker of countless consumer goods, GE had previously faced similar problems encountered by other larger corporations, but this boycott was not in response to faulty refrigerators. INFACT&emdash;who has since been joined by other activist groups&emdash;boycotted GE due to the company’s involvement in the arms and munitions industry. By boycotting GE consumer goods, the groups wanted to put pressure GE to end its involvement in producing missiles, nuclear weapons, and other military supplies.
In the early 1990s, the pressure on GE intensified after the release of the documentary, Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons, and Our Environment (the film was backed by INFACT). The film won an Academy Award and soon after, GE ended its involvement with the nuclear weapons. INFACT claimed victory and ended its boycott, but others have continued to boycott the corporation. The environmental impact of GE’s past—and present—business policies has led many people to continue to avoid GE products. GE has not completely removed itself from the defense industry as it continues to produce aircraft engines and is a top contractor for the U.S. government in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ethical shoppers oppose GE for more than its military contracting. It has been charged with dumping waste in New York’s Hudson River and has lobbied Congress to protect its interests—in environmental, media, and other activities. According to a 2002 study, GE is a “repeat offender” in misconduct among the government’s top contractors. The charges include environmental harm, fraud, employment discrimination, and poor safety conditions. GE’s extensive holding include NBC and the company has been condemned by activists for contributing to the consolidation of media at the expense of the freedom of the press.
All in all, ethical buyers can pick and choose any number of reasons to boycott GE. The plethora of consumer goods offered by the corporation allows consumers to choose their resistance’s to GE’s widespread influence.
GE brands include: 13th Street, Bravo, CNBC, CNBC Asia, CNBC Europe, CNBC World, Focus Features, GE, GE Monogram, GE Profile, MSNBC, mun2, NBC, NBC News, NBC Sports, Paxson, SciFi Channel, ShopNBC, Studio Universal, Telemundo, TRIO, Universal Channel, Universal HD, Universal Parks & Resorts, Universal Pictures, Universal Studio Home Video, USA Network.