Saturday, January 28, 2006

Seeing Red

Peter, thanks for your question about the recently-launched "Product RED" founded by AMEX (launched by CEO Robert Shriver and endorsed by Bono at Davos).

"One percent of money that customers spend on the card will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tubercolosis and Malaria, which supports nearly half a million people on AIDS treatment and a similar number of children orphaned by the disease." - From Reuters Foundation

I think that this is a great idea - and a more direct approach to what has been doing for years. It should be viewed as an essential aspect of any triple bottom line (TBL) approach.

According to the BBC, Bono warned that the project has to beware of "link[ing] up with the wrong partners." I am glad to see this word of caution at least mentioned.

Also, there may be concerns that companies will try to "cop out" as TBL responsible companies by subscribing to Product Red while continuing main operations that at the same time are detrimental to society. That, however, may be a problem with any TBL effort, mitigated somewhat (perhaps and hopefully) by efforts to establish and maintain certain TBL standards (perhaps like the UN's Global Compact for Social Responsibility).

And I know that there can be problems with enforcement of such standards. I think that the best we can hope for is to raise awareness about the TBL (to customers and to companies - and particularly young people, the "next generation" of customers) and support companies that truly do abide by its basic principles. By adopting a roster of popular items in its fundraising efforts, RED may be able to raise some awareness among youth about the importance of giving back to society. But it will be up to those who recognize that TBL is not only about "seeming good," but about "doing good" to call attention to changes that must take place.


Post a Comment

<< Home