Earlier this month, we reported that while U2’s highly outspoken Africa proponent, Bono, uses the poverty-stricken nation to produce 100% of the t-shirts for his eco-fashion label Edun, he outsources the majority of the additional pieces in his line to Asia and Peru. Ouch. That’s not what you’d expect from a socially conscious brand designed to help lift Africa out of its financial woes.
The scrutiny keeps mounting for the purported humanitarian now that it’s been found that One, the anti-poverty organization that he co-founded in 2002, uses a significant portion of their donations to pay staff salaries rather than advocate new aid/trade reform and implement effective law policies that mitigate social issues at their source.
It appears that of the $15 million in charitable donations that One received in 2008, a mere $190,000 was actually divvied out to just three poverty-fighting causes (the equivalent of 1.2%). In an even more odd revelation, the group is apparently inclined to spend lavish amounts of money on promotional items to woo reporters and the like, such as goody boxes stuffed to the gills with a bag of Starbucks coffee, a small tin of Band-Aids, a reusable water bottle, a Moleskine leather notebook, an individually-wrapped black-and-white cookie and other trinkets …when clearly that money could be channeled toward, well, AFRICA.
Defending their actions, a One spokesman explained that since they are an “advocacy and campaigning organization”, they need to spend money to promote their causes. Like $8 million on executive and employee salaries. Oh brother.