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The Power of Partnerships

By BCRF | February 25, 2022

Through shared transparency standards that combat pinkwashing, BCRF’s Shop Pink partners are funding research and driving change to save lives

For BCRF, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a crucial time to galvanize communities and fuel research—together.

We also know that for many people, Breast Cancer Awareness Month can be a painful reminder that the research they need isn’t there yet or that they live in fear of recurrence. For some, these feelings are made worse by a sea of pinkwashing products and campaigns during October.

Pinkwashing encompasses several problematic issues, but often describes products that are turned pink or emblazoned with a pink ribbon but that don’t fund any breast cancer research, patient services, or advocacy.

BCRF is committed to rejecting pinkwashing, which is why our official corporate partners are held to the highest standards of transparency to ensure that consumers are armed with the information they need to understand exactly how much money a company is donating to our Foundation and shop in a way that aligns with their values. BCRF’s efforts to elevate cause-marketing have been recognized by the NY State Attorney General’s Office as the gold standard for the non-profit sector.

BCRF is funding 250 scientists across 14 countries this year. The cumulative impact spurred by our corporate partners is fueling more than 44 percent of our investment in research grants—that is nearly half of the research BCRF supports globally. We’re investing in every aspect of research including tumor biology, lifestyle and prevention, heredity and ethnicity, new treatments, survivorship and, the most urgent challenge in breast cancer: metastatic disease.

In fact, BCRF is the largest private funder of metastatic breast cancer research in the world. We know that there are currently 168,000 people in the U.S. alone who are depending on research to find better, more effective treatments. That’s why we’re funding the largest global effort to study metastatic breast cancer—and we’re gaining critical insight into the disease. But make no mistake, our partners are a critical part of the foundation on which we build advances.

This vital—absolutely lifesaving—work simply would not happen without their support, most often garnered through products that give back.

By supporting the highest-rated breast cancer organization in the country, BCRF’s corporate partners are indisputably making an impact. For many partners, October is a crucial time to raise funds for research.

We urge you to be cautious when buying “pink products” and look for pinkwashing tipoffs. The key is to learn what to look for: transparency. We require all our partners to be openly transparent and clear about their donation so that you—the consumer—can make an educated purchase.

What does transparency mean? You should be able to calculate, at the time of purchase, exactly how much money is being donated and what organization is receiving the funds—not just common pinkwashing language like “the fight against breast cancer” or “breast cancer awareness.” Any caps to the company’s donation should also be clearly stated. If there are unclear words like “proceeds” or “profits” used to share a donation percentage (because you can’t tell what a given product’s proceeds are), be sure to look for specifics on the company’s minimum commitment. This tells you how much they have guaranteed to support the organization and that they simply hope to do more with your support. Minimum and maximum commitments are there for transparency—to share with utter clarity how much this company has committed, and how much they hope to raise.

When it comes to cause marketing, exercise caution. And know: At BCRF, we depend on partners to support our global legion of scientists whose singular focus, and ours, is to eradicate breast cancer. BCRF’s Shop Pink program represents the tremendous power of our collective strength to drive change.