Thursday, July 26

Beef, breast cancer and fundraising

Ray Kellosalmi (a physician in British Columbia) is asking some tough questions about the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) partnership with rodeos. The campaign is called Tough Enough to Wear Pink and raises money through the sale of pink Wrangler shirts and other pink-themed merchandise. In an article in today's Globe and Mail, he writes:

Everyone seems to benefit. Wrangler's brand is promoted and the CBCF gets money for cancer research. And the rodeo can associate itself with a worthy cause — quite handy to blunt criticism over its controversial treatment of animals (although one anti-rodeo activist recently told a Calgary newspaper that it was like putting pink icing on a cow pat).

But, while the CBCF joins the cowboys, cattle producers and meat companies at rodeo barbecues across the country, shouldn't it consider the health implications of the product it is indirectly helping to promote? In 2007 alone, several pieces of research have made connections between meat consumption and breast cancer.
He concludes by saying "perhaps it's time the CBCF looks beyond lucrative fundraising schemes and seeks partners more in line with its purpose."

I'm not sure I know the answer to this question. When a corporation is only using philanthropy to try and greenwash its image and prevent future bad press, fundraisers must ask these tough questions... especially if accepting the money might potentially stop the charity from speaking its mind on important issues.

But I'm not sure that is what is happening here. It's a slippery slope indeed, but I love to hear others thoughts on whether this is a conflict of interests.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is not philanthropy on Wrangler's part - it is cause-related marketing! The same questions could be asked of the cosmetics companies whose products contain substances which have also been proven to be endoncrine disrupting. Samantha King's excellent expose "Pink Ribbons, inc" blew the whistle on this kind of partnership in 2006.