October 18, 2007
Corporate Social Responsibility: Think Before You Pink
Posted by Christine Hurt

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it seems like everywhere a consumer turns there is an ad to purchase a product so that a portion of the proceeds will go to breast cancer research or outreach.  Last Fall, I was shopping for a new vacuum cleaner and chose a pink Dyson because $40 of the purchase price went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  However, a new organization wants consumers to be more savvy before they make purchases solely because of the pink ad campaign.  In particular Think Before You Pink challenges those who would "shop for the cure" to ask these questions before making a purchase:

  • How much money from your purchase actually goes to the cause?
  • 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?
  • Bottom line:  "If shopping could cure cancer, it would be cured by now."

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    Comments (7)

    1. Posted by Ann Bartow on October 19, 2007 @ 5:56 | Permalink

    See also:

    2. Posted by Ann Bartow on October 19, 2007 @ 5:57 | Permalink

    See also:

    3. Posted by jake on October 20, 2007 @ 19:43 | Permalink

    Being married to a breast cancer survivor, the dear lady who is the love of my life, I think Christine raises the right sort of questions about retailers who seek to capitalize on waving the pink ribbon.

    Being a stupid man, I've not suffered the disease. But it is very hard to sit in a room with your wife, hold her hand, and witness poison being delivered into her body by physicians who, however well intentioned, honestly don't know what the heck they are doing.

    Seven years out. Would not trade the last seven years for the world.

    4. Posted by Christine Hurt on October 21, 2007 @ 9:43 | Permalink

    You've hit the nail on the head, Jake. No one our age can say that they haven't had someone in their life, at least a friend, grandmother or aunt, if not wife or mother, who has been touched by this disease. So there is a huge market of people who would like to honor their loved ones by doing something, anything -- even if it's just run a 5K or buy a vacuum. I'm very happy for you and your wife that you are seven years out!

    5. Posted by DCB on October 22, 2007 @ 18:07 | Permalink

    I don't buy stuff based on the pink ribbon. I know that they only care about breast cancer because it's sexy: it's a way of talking about boobs without anyone complaining. There will never be a product donating to testicular cancer.

    I'm very anti-breast cancer, but I donate myself instead of picking products to do it.

    6. Posted by Michael on October 29, 2007 @ 6:45 | Permalink

    I'm a bit of a skeptical consumer. I used to work in an environmental shop and became aware of "green-washing" by companies. Any company that has to point to its good works and say, "Look at how great we are," makes me suspicious. Why would they need to point out how socially responsible they are in the first place? They want us to see what they are doing with one hand, while ignoring what they are doing with the other.

    I think a lot of companies do good works without feeling the need to call attention to themselves. Call it corporate altruism.

    7. Posted by mlgreen8753 on September 2, 2009 @ 2:04 | Permalink

    I can't say enough about supporters of breast cancer awareness and research. Thanks to them, companies like the one I read about at http://www.breastcancerinvesting.com can conduct the research needed to bring about breakthroughs in the treatment of breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer.

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