Shame campaigns aim to change industry practices by targeting the reputational value of individual firms. They occupy a contested political space from which they leverage existing inequalities in the market to redress political inequalities on the ground. Two such campaigns – the No Dirty Gold and Global Finance campaigns – are assessed based upon their ability to overcome the limitations of relying on markets for leverage and selectively targeting firms directly. While activists connect companies’ right to profit with social and environmental responsibilities, they do not directly tackle over-consumption and have done little work to reduce economic inequality. However, campaigners work to rectify existing political inequalities through their efforts to promote transparency, supply educational information, and facilitate inclusive debate amongst stakeholders. While shame campaigns reflect many of the inherent contradictions of global civil society, activists manage to challenge unwanted industry activities by circumventing the state institutions that facilitate their imposition.
- environmental activism
- direct targeting