The UK Guardian has an interesting article on the feisty internal battles going on within UNICEF over celebrity or corporation participation in campaigns for charity and humanitarian assistance. According to the article, “Senior Unicef ground staff in South Asia have expressed their resentment at the charities’ love affair with glamour and celebrity, fearing that the association is not only demeaning the UN ‘brand’ but also portraying its workers as hypocrites.”
Workers feel that the integrity of UNICEF is being sacrificed due to lucrative partnerships with companies like GUCCI or McDonald’s. While the money is needed and used extensively for good deeds, the companies involved are often at the heart of the problems facing UNICEF workers in the field; poor pay and deplorable working conditions.
“‘Gucci’s reputation may be untarnished, but should we be entering into this kind of partnership with the firm that owns them, especially while we are fighting against child labour every single day of the year? The answer is no,’ said the source. ‘Even looking at the alliance – Gucci and Unicef – it’s ludicrous. Gucci’s most loyal customers would think nothing of spending $100,000 a season on couture. Do you know how many lives that would save? It just doesn’t sit well.’”
We chatted about this before on ‘Razzi and I don’t think the issue is going to ever go away. You’re always going to have companies looking to appease shareholders and consumers with some short-term charity work. It’s definitely a contradiction if your own internal policies are at the root of what your donations are working to fight, but it’s an unfortunate reality. The article has several more fascinating interviews with people on both sides and it’s worth your time to read.
What do you think? Should charities not enter into agreements with celebrities or charities with tissue paper integrity? Or does the money offered do more good than harm?