Thursday, June 14, 2007


One of the problems with shopping is the occasional pang of guilt I feel when I buy a cute top that was "made in India" or a pair of trendy shoes that were "made in China." I sometimes wonder if my purchases are helping or hurting the current state of the world (that is, until the credit card is swiped and I get to walk home with my new item!)

The idea behind the (product)RED campaign is to use our buying power to try and make a difference in the world. A number of brands have teamed up with the Global Fund to generate funding for some of the initiatives aimed at reducing the rates and effects of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund partners with governments, non-profit organizations, and the private sector to work towards ridding the world of these devastating diseases. Its sole purpose is to raise funds for the countries, organizations and communities that need financial help to allow them to respond to these epidemics.

A lofty goal, for sure, but I figure, if I'm going shopping anyhow, why not give them a hand?

A fun feature of the website is the (RED)calculator that will tell you, based on the number of (RED) items you have purchased, how the money could be used to help fight AIDS in Africa. For example, my two purchases from the GAP have generated enough money to provide anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment for one month to a person living with HIV. Whether or not the money will actually go to that particular cause is debatable, but it's certainly better than giving all my money to some big corporation (that's the hippie in me, talking!)

Plus, the (RED)brand items are totally hip and trendy. My favorite purchases have surprisingly been from the GAP. No longer just a place for the basic T-shirt and jeans, the GAP now carries a line of clothes that is unique, fun and comfortable. Plus 50% of proceeds go directly to the Global Fund. That ought to ease your mind (and your wallet!)


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