One important issue covered recently by Ethical Consumer magazine was that of charities accepting sponsorship money and other support from arguably inappropriate sources.
Cited were examples such as the acceptance of money from Sainsbury’s, which markets a breast milk substitute, by the National Childbirth Trust in 1997, a decision that caused 70 of the trust’s breastfeeding counsellors to quit in disgust and set up their own Breastfeeding Network. Also featured was the National Obesity Forum, which more recently pocketed £50,000 from Coca Cola, despite criticising the government for accepting money from junk food firms to pay for public health campaigns.
And in July last year a sizeable number of charities accepted the charity of disgraced Rupert Murdoch, and helped his personal PR campaign, by being featured free of charge in the last issue of the News of The World. These were Action Aid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care, The Children’s Heart Federation, The Children’s Trust, Christian Aid, Coach:Rugby in Africa, Concern Worldwide, Enham, Five Talents, Fresh2O, Friendship Works, Islamic Relief, Matt Hampson Foundation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Mend, Merlin, New Family Social, One Difference, Oxfam, Peas, Pennies For Life, Plan, Row2recovery, St John Ambulance. Save the Children, Smile Train, Spana, Tearfund, Terence Higgins Trust, Wellbeing of Women, Well Foundation, World Horse Welfare, World Vision and World Wildlife Fund.
Currently charity Uncaged is attacking the sponsorship of the Olympics by Proctor & Gamble, associated with cruelty to animals through its continuing testing on them. This, says Dan Lyons at Uncaged is in direct conflict with the claims of the International Olympic Committee that they support ethical principles. “You can run Olympics without becoming a corporate whore” he comments.
But it helps?