Pink Washing: “A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by
promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures, and/or sells products that are linked to the disease” (Think Before You Pink).
Any company can claim they are “pink” by putting the pink ribbon on their products. The pink ribbon symbol is not regulated or monitored by any agency. The pink ribbon symbol has become synonymous with a product being “healthy”, but again it is not regulated. Breast Cancer Action, poses some critical questions to ask before donating your money to a so-called “pink” cause.
Does any of the money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?
Many products show a pink ribbon on their packaging and claim a portion of the proceeds will go to breast cancer. It is best to research this claim and find out how much of the money is going to a breast cancer organization or if a separate donation has already been made. Sometimes it is best to just directly to the charity of your choice.
What organization will get the money? What will they do with the money and how will these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?
Many companies that sell pink ribbon products claim that their proceeds are going to breast cancer services. Before donating, it’s best to check the company’s website to see if the services are going to those who need it most and if they are addressing the core issues of the breast cancer epidemic: social inequalities and environmental factors. If the organization’s mission and values do not coincide with your own, consider donating to a different organization.
Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation been met? Can you tell?
Some companies put a “cap” on the amount of pink ribbon proceeds are donated. Even if the maximum is met, the company can continue to sell the “pink” products. Research the product before purchasing because your donation may not be going to a pink cause at all.
Does this product put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?
Many pink ribbon products that are sold contain toxins that are actually linked to breast cancer. If a company is taking on the image of a ‘breast cancer friendly’ company, it has a moral obligation to see that its products are not correlated to breast cancer. Research the product to ensure there are no hazardous toxins.
If you have any questions about a “pink” product, as a consumer you can take action to demand “pink” products don’t contain any chemicals correlated to breast cancer. Write a letter to the company to demand it be clear about its donation(s) or consider donating to a charity for breast cancer directly.
In response to pink washing, You Can Thrive (YCT) has created a new movement: Pink for People. This means that 100% of YCT’s public donations go to direct hands on breast cancer services. YCT provides advocacy, support, education, and natural health services all for breast cancer. By donating to YCT, you no longer have to wonder where your donation goes. Here at YCT we are Pink for People!