More Than Half of British Columbians Have Boycotted a Company

Half of “boycotters” say they disagreed with how an organization or establishment pays or treats its employees.

Vancouver, BC [September 11, 2019] – A majority of British Columbians admit to having voluntarily abstained from using, buying or dealing with an organization of establishment, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 55% of British Columbians say that, over the course of their lives, they have boycotted an organization or establishment.

Women (58%), British Columbians aged 55 and over (59%) and Vancouver Islanders (62%) are more likely to say that they have boycotted a company.

Half of British Columbians who have actively participated in a boycott (50%) point to disagreements with how employees of a specific organization of establishment were paid or treated.

Other reasons cited for boycotts include disagreements over environmental practices (43%), disagreements over the ownership of an organization or establishment (37%) and disagreements with animal welfare practices (33%).

“Women in British Columbia are significantly more likely to have boycotted a company for labour (56%) or animal welfare reasons (42%) than men (44% and 23% respectively),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Boycotts originating from a disagreement with ownership are more common in Metro Vancouver (41%).”

More than two-in-five British Columbians (43%) say they research the environmental practices of companies before purchasing a product or service “all the time” or “some of the time”. 

Slightly smaller proportions of British Columbians also look into a company’s social practices (39%) and labour practices (37%) before making a purchase.

When it comes to their recent experiences as consumers, more than a third of British Columbians say they review a company’s social, environmental, labour and/or investment practices when shopping for groceries (41%), clothing or shoes (40%), household goods (39%), cleaning products (also 39%), a vehicle (38%), dinner at a restaurant (37%) and electronics (36%).

Across the seven recent consumer experiences tested, British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are significantly more likely to review a company’s practices than their older counterparts.

While only 27% of British Columbians aged 55 and over review a company’s social, environmental, labour and/or investment practices when shopping for clothing or shoes, the proportion climbs to 44% among those aged 35-to-54 and 58% among those aged 18-to-34.


Results are based on an online study conducted from August 28 to August 30, 2019, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.