Effective ways of reacting to Oxy
The Oxy case has given such a shock to Korean society that now people worry about household chemical products and criticize the irresponsibility of Oxy. People expressing their anger by boycotting is a way to put pressure on Oxy to make a proper response to this case. Therefore, they began an unprecedented large-scale boycott. Consumers are much more resolute than ever to drive Oxy out of Korea that even universities are participating. A professor from Ewha stated her claim on how people should react to the incident in order to accomplish the goal.
“The Oxy case should not end simply with a compensation and an apology,” said Professor Cheon Hye-jung, a professor of Consumer Studies. “It is more urgent to adopt Punitive Damage for intentional and illegal actions. Punitive Damage is when the perpetrators have to compensate to victims much more than the amount of damages they actually had made.”
Professor Cheon also emphasized the role of consumers. As individual consumers, they should gather into groups and show how powerful they can be. Moreover, it is important to create a market environment where corporations are able to make profit only when they take social responsibility.
“The idea that any corporation that commits illegal acts cannot enter the market should be widely spread,” she added. “If those corporations are not restrained, there could be other businesses that commit similar irresponsible actions.”
Along with the nationwide boycotts, the number of university students participating in the boycott is also growing. A student group in Sungkonghoe University and The Youth People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) held a press interview on May 26 to express their stance. They insisted they would not buy Oxy products. They asked other students to join the boycott, carrying signs that spread the message. Consequently, the boycott is widely spreading among university students.
One of the consumers, a student from Seoul National University, claimed that Oxy should stop selling their dangerous products.
“We have to make sure that markets do not sell Oxy products so that they are not used anymore,” Yoo Ji-yin said. “Oxy should concentrate on finding the cause of damage in their products and make new products only after fixing the problem. Furthermore, even if Oxy’s sales are not suffering, they should not sell products that can threaten people’s health.”
With regard to the universities’ action, she pointed out the importance of the role of youth.
“Universities are where young people grow to be future leaders,” Yoo asserted. “Therefore, if universities are taking action by boycotting, high-ranking officials will eventually hear their voices of protest and have them reflected in the making of public policies.”
Learning from other boycotts worldwide also helps to achieve a successful boycott. Such examples abroad include a case of Snow Brand Milk Products Co. in Japan where the company finally closed after a nationwide boycott for a number of people who had food poisoning from its contaminated milk in 2000. Another case involved Nestlé adopting a zero deforestation policy due to high pressure from Greenpeace, an international organization that preserves the environment. Currently, victims have filed a lawsuit against Oxy and anti-Oxy protests are spreading nationwide.
Reporters: Jang Min-jeong, Lim Ye-ju