Firms exist to earn and maximize profits. And in ensuring profits, many firms find the most effective ways of production that will result in lower production costs for higher profits.
But what happens when a firm’s action have raised the ire of the public with its want to maximize profits?
Adidas, the famous shoe manufacturer learned its lesson to be careful in their ways of making money.
The shoe brand has experienced being boycotted by some of its patrons, and even being refused by one of its top endorsers.
But just what does boycott mean?
It is when a firm’s clientele is boycotting the firm by refusing to buy its services or products. The cause for boycott is simple; a company has done harm to society.
In the case of Adidas, it has experienced boycott because of its chosen materials for its shoe product.
For some time, the shoemaker has been using leather from kangaroos to produce its prestige boots that was being used by the football players of the Premier League. Animal groups have rallied against the use of kangaroo to produce the boots product.
Kangaroos had to be culled through shooting of the older kangaroos and clubbing the young ones until they die. Animal welfare activists wanted an end to such animal cruelty and had pleaded to Adidas to stop the use of kangaroo leather for its shoe product.
The use of kangaroo skin is common for the big shoe manufacturers. In fact, several big stars have endorsed shoe products made from kangaroo skin like John Terry, Frank Lampard and even David Beckham.
Beckham had stopped using and promoting any shoe product made from kangaroo skin in 2006, but other firms continued the manufacture of products using the same material.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council or AWPC together with another animal welfare organization, Viva! worked hand in hand to stop companies from selling any products that are made from kangaroos including its meat.
“We have harried and opposed the Australian killing industry for more than a decade with considerable success. This latest move away from kangaroo leather is because Viva! has tarnished Adidas’ image and therefore their profitability. You can’t be a ‘little bit’ pregnant and you can’t be a little bit immoral so we urge Adidas to drop kangaroo completely,” Viva had said in a statement.
There is a very large population of kangaroos in Australia that sometimes, this animal is considered as a pest.
Adidas, for its part finally heeded the calls of the animal welfare organizations as it announced the stoppage of the use of kangaroo skin for the manufacture of some shoe products in 2012.
It had then said that the Predator boots line is no longer made from kangaroos skin, and that it had planned to lessen the use of the kangaroo skin for the said shoe product in a period of one year.
“We engaged with Adidas in connection with their continued use of kangaroo leather. We noted positively the successful transition of the Predator range that no longer contains kangaroo leather and that within the next 12 months Adidas will have reduced their sourcing volume for kangaroo leather by 98 per cent,” Adidas had said back then.
The move of Adidas also prompted other shoe manufacturer to follow suit while the animal welfare groups hailed the decision of Adidas to stop using kangaroo skin.
The head of internal operations and EU campaign director of AWPC, Philip Woolley noted “Having worked tirelessly for over ten years to get sports companies like Adidas to stop using kangaroo skin, the news of Adidas dropping their use on ethical and animal welfare grounds, is just a fantastic result.”
Similarly, its competitor, Nike had experienced the same situation in the past. Nike saw a decline in sales after an activist had exposed the poor working conditions of Nike’s factory workers in third world countries particularly in Vietnam.
A video was produced and spread which showed that the Nike factories in Vietnam were nothing short of sweatshops.
Nike in the 1990s had expanded its business and as such had to outsource its operations to third world countries where labor is much cheaper. But Nike as a company did not bother to check how the factories are being run, and if the workers’ working conditions were good.
John Keady, an American graduate student researched and produced the video that showed the inhumane working environment of Nike factory workers. This prompted a widespread campaign and boycott of Nike’s products. Some universities mounted hunger strike to protest the use of Nike by their athletic teams.
Nike had first ignored the increasing protests, but realized that they had to address the issue as the protests were already hurting the profits. The shoe manufacturer had decided to come up with concrete steps in order to address the poor working conditions in its factories.