The idea behind RED: Consumers can choose to help those afflicted with AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa buy purchasing (Red) products. Every time a consumer purchases a (RED) product, part of the profits will go straight to Africa and the purchase of antiretroviral medicine.
This is important because antiretroviral medication keeps those with AIDs (frequently mothers or the heads of the households) healthy, productive and able to work. Doing so allows families to raise their children, have their children to go to school and thus break the cycle of poverty, gender inequality, hunger and disease. It gives families and children options for the future. Antiretroviral medication and AIDS programs are also a major focus for the World Food Program. AIDS patients must take their medication with food or risk side effects that make them even more ill. RED has a great informative section with FAQs and stats on the current crisis that I recommend checking out: http://www.joinred.com/Learn/HIVInAfrica.aspx
It is important to recognize that Project Red is not a charity. It is a business model that allows sustainable funds to flow from the private sector to The Global Fund. There are many high profile brands such as American Express, Apple, Converse, Armani, Gap, Hallmark, Microsoft, and Starbucks that have specified RED products in their portfolio and contribute to this goal. Interestingly, this is at no additional cost to the consumer (which was one of my first questions when I heard of this concept). The partner company commits to sharing a portion of its profit, and thus takes the cuts. Though some of the partnering company profits are going out the window, they are also receiving great PR and brand marketing by associating themselves with this cause.
Any time I contemplate giving money, time or energy to an organization that is "helping" a cause, I always want to know where my money is going and how I know that those in need are actually receiving help. In this case, The Global Fund has a small staff with low admin costs (less than 3 %) that ensures the majority of support goes to the intended recipients. More info on the Global Fund: http://www.joinred.com/Learn/HowRedWorks/GlobalFund.aspx
With many companies willing to partner with RED and consumers in turn choosing to purchase RED products, 2.5 Million Africans have received aid in 2 years. And 80,000 people in Rwanda, Swaziland, and Ghana have received antiretroviral medicine.
I admire the marketing and business execution of RED. The color red signifies emergency and with 4,100 dying every day, Product Red reminds of us of this emergency.
As far as I know, I haven't purchased a Red product previously. However, not all (Red)products are actually colored red. It is very likely I have purchased a (Red) product in the past and didn't realize it. From now on I am much more likely to look for the Red logo when I make a purchase from one of these partnering companies.
I think the use of private sector funds for global humanity causes is smart, necessary and a concept that should continue to grow and improve. Here is the link if you would like to join in or take action: http://www.joinred.com/TakeAction.aspx
What did you think of this review?