Initial Product RED Contributions to Global Fund Flowing to Africa, Financial Times Reports
The initial contributions from the Product RED label -- a project created by Irish musician Bono and Bobby Shriver that aims to raise money for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by donating a portion of profits from a range of branded products -- have started flowing to HIV/AIDS programs in Africa, the Financial Times reports (Beattie, Financial Times, 1/27). American Express, Converse, Giorgio Armani and Gap were the initial partners in the program and are distributing credit cards and selling tennis shoes, sunglasses and T-shirts, respectively, carrying the Product RED label. The four partner companies have committed to the brand for five years and have pledged to give an average of 40% of profits from the products to the Global Fund. London's Independent in May 2006 announced that it would become the first media outlet to sign on as a partner in the project. In addition, Motorola in May 2006 announced that it will partner with Product RED. Apple Computer in October 2006 began selling a red-colored iPod Nano and $25 iTunes gift cards under the Product RED label. According to Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem, Product RED has raised more than $10 million in the United Kingdom from February 2006 through September 2006 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/16/06). According to the Times, $5.25 million from the project has been directed toward HIV/AIDS programs in Rwanda, and $4 million has been directed toward programs in Swaziland. The programs in the two countries aim to provide access to antiretroviral drugs, as well as care for children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related causes. Although contributions from the Product RED label are grouped into the Global Fund's common pool of resources, the label "felt it needed to show concrete examples of its donations being used," and the Global Fund has "allowed it to present that Rwandan and Swaziland projects as being a direct result of RED donations," the Times reports. Feachem said that he hopes Product RED in a few years will contribute a "few hundred million" dollars annually to the Global Fund, adding that RED consumers could call on political leaders to increase their contributions (Financial Times, 1/27).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.