The Daily Gamecock

'Pink' adds green to company revenue

Some companies take profits for themselves

Breast cancer research has saved the lives of many women. Cancer rates have plummeted, and the number of survivors has increased. Clearly, this is a wonderful indicator that breast cancer awareness has played a vital role in reversing one of many horrible diseases. Unfortunately, some organizations have taken advantage and profited from the increasing amount of recognition breast cancer awareness has been receiving.

Many for-profit organizations sponsor breast cancer awareness events, and some of these companies will sell pink items and send a portion of the profit toward cancer research. Doing so has tremendously furthered the fight against breast cancer. However, just exactly how much is going towards the fight, rather than the corporation’s bottom line? The Better Business Bureau issued a warning against “pinkwashing.” Jim Camp, president of the BBB in SC, has said, “The pink ribbon is not regulated by anyone, so anyone can use that logo and not necessarily provide money to breast cancer research or cure.” Some companies do not disclose how much of the proceeds actually go towards research, thus “pinkwashing” consumers, or tricking them into thinking they’re helping the cause when they actually aren’t.

Garnet and Black Traditions and Jewelry Warehouse stores specifically label how much of the money goes towards breast cancer research on the price tags. Doing so gives the consumers an honest idea of how much they are contributing. However, numerous other companies engage in “pinkwashing” consumers. For example, companies promise to donate portions of the profit received from pink-products to a breast cancer charity. But unknown to the consumers, some companies will make set donations and take the rest of the profits from their pink products. Consumers are left in the dark believing that they are promoting the development of life-saving research, when in reality, the coffers of companies are being filled.

All throughout October, the official month of breast cancer awareness, the NFL has been pink from top to bottom. Fields have pink paint, goalposts are pink, players wear pink gear and referees are throwing pink penalty flags. They are honestly doing a great job at raising breast cancer awareness. However, the NFL is guilty of participating in “pinkwashing.” Of all the money spent on pink NFL gear, only 8 percent of revenue goes towards actual research. The remainder of the money goes to the NFL, the manufacturers and the retailers.

The NFL is not the only culprit of “pinkwashing” during the “Breast Cancer Industry Month,” as deemed by Breast Cancer Action. But what might be the most disturbing is that several of the companies promoting the awareness with particular products that may be carcinogenic themselves. “Proctor & Gamble” promote limited edition pink Swiffer cleaning products. Swiffer contains phthalate esters, chemicals linked to altering estrogen levels and causing tumors. Most ironically, in 2011, the Susan G. Komen Foundation released a perfume that was found to contain toxic chemicals.

If we are truly concerned about the development of a cure for breast cancer, or any cancer, then we ought to completely bypass the companies selling us products and give the money directly to the organizations that trying to find a cure.