Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Boycott All Gold

My mum forwarded this to me via email:

Dear Friend,
Please join me in sending an UnValentine’s Day card and boycotting Terry’s All Gold. The parent company of Terry’s – Altria (formerly British American Tobacco) – is a company that has given $6.8 million in recent years to the Republican Party and George Bush; funded extremist right-wing groups; and lobbied against proposals to regulate corporations that profit at the expense of our health, environment and human rights. Terry’s All Gold is the biggest selling boxed chocolate in the UK. Send an UnValentine’s Day card by visiting to let Altria know exactly why you are doing it. Thank you for your support.

Terry’s, as you may be aware, are based in my home town of York and their factory is only a few blocks away from where I used to go to school (although I gather they’re in the process of closing it). York is also home to Nestle Rowntree, another confectionary company with very questionable ethical position (the ground of York City FC was recently renamed ‘KitKat Crescent’). We’re not doing that well, although on the plus side York is a ‘Fairtrade town’.


  1. Terry’s is part of Kraft Foods Inc, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, following an Initial Public Offering in 2001. A majority of the shares are owned by Altria, which was formerly Philip Morris, not British American Tobacco.
    Will this suggested boycott of Terry’s make the slightest difference to Altria? I doubt it.

  2. The activist in me

    Call me subversive, but I like seeing brands challenged, to have the advertising imagery questioned and supplanted. I don’t know the facts behind the email Neil Turner received from his mum, but I like that people are taking on brand…

  3. If we took this approach for all companies that had links with ‘unethical’ practices, we’d never buy anything. Globalisation has its price, and sadly, it appears that the cost is human in many cases. However, I’ve come to realise that no amount of boycotting or protesting will change anything. Even in the extreme case that Terry’s/Altria/BAT felt something in their pockets from these boycotts, unless you gave up chocolate completely someone, somewhere with a similar approach would benefit.
    And before you talk about FairTrade chocolate etc (which is a cracking idea), how many people will genuinely buy only that? The product range is not as wide, the quality is not as good (in some cases, from my own experience) and the cost to the consumer is higher.
    I’m afraid unethical behaviour by companies is somethign we will have to deal with. I hate to be defeatist, but I also pride myself on being realistic. The world just isn’t fair.

  4. I’m not one to read anything forwarded to me. Alex’s comment proves that this sort of e-mail is misleading. And as he pointed out, the amount of people boycotting Terry’s would be insignificant and probably not result in much of a ‘loss’. Same with most of the other companies who have a questionable ethical position. It would be nice if this sort of protest worked, but the sad truth is that it doesn’t.