This story has been updated with a comment from Avon below.NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Many companies have been criticized for greenwashing, or marketing products as environmentally friendly when the facts point to the contrary, but according to one report, some businesses may be abusing another color: pink. Just as businesses recognized an opportunity to boost their brand by appealing to the growing number of eco-conscious consumers, a report published in the journal Environmental Justice alleges that several corporations have tried to capitalize on the breast cancer cause in recent years by associating their brands with efforts to raise awareness for the disease, while at the same time putting out products that actually make the epidemic worse. The report refers to this phenomenon as pinkwashing.
|Not all products are as "pink" as breast cancer activists would hope. A report alleges that corporations capitalize on the breast cancer cause while putting out products that actually make the epidemic worse.|
What's more, the authors argue that companies such as Avon have essentially dictated the "mainstream experience of breast cancer" by urging consumers to support the cause with their pocketbooks by buying products with pink ribbons to raise money for treatments and research rather than encouraging men and women to focus on habits and choices that can prevent or limit the risk of getting breast cancer to begin with, including by limiting one's exposure to hormone disruptors.While the report focuses on Avon ( AVP - Get Report), other groups such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics have raised concerns about cosmetic companies including Aveda and Clinique ( Estee Lauder ( EL - Get Report) brands) for promoting breast cancer awareness but using potentially harmful chemicals in their products. Even noncosmetics companies have been criticized for pinkwashing in the past, including KFC ( YUM - Get Report), which held a breast cancer fundraising campaign last year that some argued would profit only the company and hurt women's health by promoting unhealthy eating habits. Update: Tod Abrogast, Avon's VP of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, says the makeup company denies the findings from the Journal of Environmental Justice, noting that roughly 10% of the money Avon has raised for breast cancer since 2004 has gone toward preventative research. Moreover, Abrogast says the hormone-disrupting chemical found in Avon's products and referred to in the article are called parabens, which are not deemed unsafe by the government. >To submit a news tip, email: email@example.com. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.