PINK IS NOT THE PROBLEM......THE PROBLEM IS PINKWASHING.


October is breast cancer awareness month. There is an influx of pink, with pink campaigns, pink products, pink ribbons to “support” the cause. Breast cancer has become a multibillion dollar industry but it’s entirely unregulated.

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pink • wash • ing (noun)

a marketing tactic. the exploitation of breast cancer for profit or public relations. the act of supporting the breast cancer cause or promoting a pink ribbon product while actively producing, manufacturing, or selling products linked to the disease.

BEHIND THE CAMPAIGN.

PINK IS NOT THE PROBLEM is an initiative created by the community for the community.
The Breasties 501(c)3 nonprofit organization brought together 10 community members, all affected by breast cancer in some capacity. 
They were asked questions about their experiences surrounding breast cancer awareness month, the color pink, the exploitation of stories, and pinkwashing. Their responses are real, raw, and unscripted. 

PINKWASHING IS HARMFUL.

"Buying a product that has a pink ribbon on it doesn't necessarily mean that you're supporting the cause in any which way, shape or form."


- Dana, Breast Cancer Survivor

“Some corporations are not even giving back at all. And they are just profiting off our suffering and are profiting off our fight. If you're going to join our fight, help us fight. Don't profit off it”


- Clara, Breast Cancer Survivor

“A lot of organizations and brands think they're doing good and don't realize the harm that it could cause for members in the community. The exploitation of your disease ... you feel like a prop for a marketing campaign. It doesn't feel like it honors everything you've been through. And it doesn't feel like it's doing anything to give back to the community that you're a part of."


- Allie, Breast Cancer Survivor

"Do people understand that breast cancer isn't just a color? There are so many diverse stories and people behind this disease and there are so many needs that aren't being met."


- Bri, Breast Cancer Previvor

"Some corporations want to show that they are philanthropic, caring about a cause. They are just painting a color over, changing their logos. But truthfully do you care? You're making money off of people's pain and people's burdens." 


- Alexis, Breast Cancer Survivor

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AROUND FUNDS

Charitable giving around breast cancer is unregulated. The presence of a pink ribbon does not equate to a donation being made and the amount/use of funds is not always communicated clearly.

MANY ARE PROFITING OFF THE CAUSE

Companies and organizations are using breast cancer to further their marketing efforts for personal gain. Profits from these campaigns, are not being used to meet the needs of those impacted by breast cancer.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE BEING EXPLOITED 

The stories of individuals impacted by breast cancer are used to sell products and/or enhance marketing efforts, without compensation or a donation to the cause. 

UNSETTLING FACTS:

  • Only 2%-5% of funds raised for breast cancer research goes towards stage 4 research.

  • The color pink can be placed on anything and there's no requirement for it to give back to breast cancer. 

  • The average “giveback” from a pink product or campaign is less than 10% of proceeds. 

  • A pink ribbon can be put on products that are harmful, unhealthy, toxic, or carcinogenic. 

CREATE CHANGE.

The breast cancer community still needs support. Donations are integral to make change. When funds are transparently communicated, and designated to moving research forward, providing support and education, and honoring the stories of community members, we all win. 
… so what can you do to combat pinkwashing?

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When it comes to being an informed consumer…

Know where your money goes: Before purchasing something pink, ask yourself:

    Will this purchase help others? 
    Does money from this purchase support breast cancer research or resources for the community?
    What organization is receiving the donation? Do I believe in the mission of this organization? 
    Is this safe? Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to something toxic, carcinogenic, unhealthy, or harmful?

WHEN IT COMES TO NONPROFITS…

Do your research: When navigating which breast cancer nonprofit organization to support, ask yourself:

    Do I want my donation to go towards a cure? If so, donate to nonprofits funding research for stage 4, metastatic breast cancer. Be weary of organizations that use terminology such as "end breast cancer" or "fight for a cure" without allocated money to metastatic research.  
    Do I want my donation to support programs for those who are in the community? If so, donate to organizations that provide free support services, educational resources, grants, and programs. 
    What resources can help? Online resources like guidestar.org review and rank nonprofits based on their use of funds. A common rule of thumb is that 85 percent of funds should go towards the nonprofit's mission-driven programs and only 15 percent to operating expenses. 

WHEN IT COMES TO BUSINESSES or CORPORATIONS THAT WANT TO GIVE BACK…

Identify your intention: When looking to giveback as a business or corporation:

    Find a nonprofit that you believe in. Do your research to ensure they are using funds to create meaningful change. 
    Ask yourself: How can I contribute to this organization to make meaningful change through a mutually beneficial partnership? What are the organization's goals and how can we help one another?
    If you are partnering for a cause marketing campaign, and donating funds based on products sold — decide on a fair donation amount. There is no right percentage of give back, but make sure you are donating an amount that feels good to both you and the organization’s team. 
    Be transparent about your philanthropic giving. Clearly state to your consumers who the donation is going to and how much money is being donated. Make sure it is clear if there are any restrictions to the donation, including any minimum guaranteed or maximum amount, if there is consumer action required for the donation to be made, the dates of the campaign, etc.
    Compensate community members if you are using their stories as part of your campaign. Their stories are valuable!
    Think outside of October. Patients are diagnosed with breast cancer all year long — not just during breast cancer awareness month. Find a way to support this cause for more than just one month per year.

WHEN IT COMES TO WANTING TO SUPPORT A LOVED ONE…

    Stop before you purchase an item just because it is pink or has a pink ribbon! You may be able to contribute in a more meaningful way.
    Ask your loved one if there are any organizations that have helped them personally, and you can donate directly to that organization.
    Donate to the hospital that your friend/family member is being treated at.
    Support or start a crowdfunding page or meal train for your loved one.
    Directly ask what your loved one needs! Quality time, a ride to treatment, or helping with chores will be more meaningful than a pink t-shirt or water bottle.

MERCH THAT MATTERS.

Support the community this October and share with the world that PINKWASHING is a problem. 

The Breasties organization is expanding in 2022, to fund research for stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Help us to kick-off this commitment, as ALL proceeds from this PINK IS NOT THE PROBLEM line will fund metastatic breast cancer research. 

Use these resources to share knowledge about pinkwashing and share with the world that #pinkisnottheproblem.

Click and download google drive of toolkit

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