The Top 5 Most Hypocritical Corporate Sponsors
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A couple of years ago, Susan G. Komen for the Cure raised some ire when the breast cancer organization teamed up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was an unlikely partnership between a health advocacy organization and a fast food corporation, and considering the research on the health effects of fatty foods, many thought it was highly inappropriate.
Sadly, these kinds of fiscal arrangements are not an anomaly. Many non-profits and other charities rely on corporate sponsorships to keep them afloat – and some of those partnerships seem as counterproductive as KFC's and Komen’s “pink bucket” campaign.
See, corporations and these “do good” organizations have a harmful yet cyclical relationship. As corporations continuously strive for more customers to increase profits, many non-profit organizations, which often struggle financially, rely on corporations to sponsor them in exchange for lots of advertising. Corporations often jump at the chance to sponsor popular causes and events in order to enhance the corporation’s public image and increase its customer base.
People may argue that these organizations need money to help others, so it doesn’t matter where the money comes from. But it does matter if the organizations accept money from corporations that generate revenue by undermining the public good, and if corporate financial success comes at the expensive of the rest of us, especially those being served by hardworking nonprofits.
What would our world look like if we broke free from corporate power? Imagine, for instance, if the American Cancer Society and its millions of donors stormed the fortress of the dirty gas, oil and coal industries, which have caused cancer rates to soar, and forced them to shut down. A pipe dream? Not if we start realizing just how far corporate dollars have penetrated our lives and begin working to pressure organizations to cut harmful corporate ties.
The following are my top five most dangerously ironic corporate sponsorships. It’s important to note that numerous corporations sponsor these organizations, not just the ones I list. But these are especially hypocritical (and really piss me off).
1. Walmart Sponsors American Cancer Society
Nothing annoys me more than seeing the Walmart logo on the bottom, right-hand corner of every Relay for Life sign I come across. Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser, which has raised more than $3 billion since 1985. I’ll never forget first seeing the logo as I was walking around the track at my local Relay for Life event — I was furious. As someone whose family has been deeply affected by cancer and who has raised a significant amount of money each year for the event, I was shocked that the American Cancer Society would allow such a disgraceful corporation like Walmart to be one of the main sponsors of its event.
Cancer growth parallels the growth of industrialization and has been proven to be linked to polluted environments. Despite the reality that industries are antithetical to the environment from the start, Walmart, no matter how much it tries to greenwash its reputation, is especially unsustainable. In fact, in an investigative series produced by Grist, the journalist found that Walmart destroys habitats, produces an annual 3.5 million metrics tons of CO2, donates money to anti-environment candidates, and its cheap products have increased the amount of items we buy. Walmart’s practices also undermine two crucial elements of good public health: a good diet and access to healthcare. Walmart sells not only processed foods, but has such rotten produce that not even its poor workers buy it. Speaking of workers, many don’t have access to health care, as Walmart offers plans its employees can’t afford as well as continues to cut their health benefits.