COLORADO SPRINGS — During the last few weeks you’ve probably seen plenty of companies using the color pink and the ribbon in honor of breast cancer awareness, but News5 has a consumer warning that some companies are just using it as a misleading marketing tactic. They choose not to donate or contribute anything to breast cancer research or the cause.
”That’s pinkwashing. Using breast cancer and packaging something in pink and telling people where the money is going to go without any proof that it goes there,” said the founder of the Becky Baker Foundation, Rick Baker.
He lost his wife Becky to breast cancer in 2017. In her memory he launched the Becky Baker Foundation, providing thousands of free mammograms to people in the Colorado Springs community and beyond.
”I think it should be changed to breast cancer prevention month because everybody is already aware. We don’t need to be aware. We are aware,” said Baker.
He’s traveling the country right now meeting with medical experts to better understand what can be done to help, but he’s also discovered many breast cancer awareness campaigns aren’t being transparent with their funds.
”I've spent hundreds of hours trying to track down where the money went on some of these claims and you can’t find it. It’s fraud,” said Baker. “I believe there’s a special place in hell for these people. They are taking advantage of something that’s so tragic. Breast cancer.”
Leaders of other breast cancer support efforts like “Cowgirls Against Cancer” in the Pikes Peak Region share Rick’s “Pinkwashing” concerns.
”Dollars go into an organization and they don’t necessarily flow back out toward the patients and they may just stay within that organization. The dollars we raise we turn right back around,” said Norris Penrose Legacy Foundation Executive Director Kyle Park.
It’s why the Better Business Bureau in Colorado Springs is now using a new seal to help consumers identify companies who prove they are actually using their funds for the cause.
”If this company says they are donating money to the cure or to cancer (research), are they really doing it? So, if there is that little circular logo out there then they’ve been verified by BBB meaning they are not only an accredited business, but they have verified they are also doing the social good they say they are doing,” said BBB of Southern Colorado CEO & Executive Director Jonathan Liebert.
It’s important to note if companies make money by simply raising awareness for an issue it’s not illegal. It’s more of an ethical concern. How much companies or organizations actually give toward a cause isn’t regulated. It could be 10%, 1%, or nothing at all. It’s why it’s important for consumers to ask the right questions.
Here are some suggested resources to help you learn more about organizations you might donate to or do business with…
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