Every year we see hundreds of products from tennis balls to shampoo, to golf clubs to cars, decorated with a little pink ribbon, signaling to consumers that a portion of the proceeds will benefit breast cancer awareness. However, this “portion of proceeds” can be extremely minimal, sometimes pennies to the dollar. Meanwhile, retailers are boosting their image by purporting to care about breast cancer and doing little to contribute to its cause. From the Think Before You Pink website:
The Think Before You Pink Campaign is a project of Breast Cancer Action, launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. These six critical questions include:
How much money actually goes towards breast cancer?
What is the maximum amount that will be donated?
How much money was spent marketing the product?
How are the funds being raised?
To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support?
What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic? (Pinkwashers, as the TBP Campaign calls them, are those companies claiming to care about cancer but are manufacturing products with cancer-causing chemicals.)
If these answers are difficult to get or if you feel the promotion is questionable, try writing a letter to the company responsible, consider buying a different product, and tell your friends. It is easy to get caught up with feeling good about buying a product knowing that some of the proceeds are going to save lives; it is unfortunate more companies and retailers are not as transparent as they should be. Please visit the campaign's site for more information.