Profiting from the needy

By Samir Nazareth

, by Infochange

Samir Nazareth questions cause-related marketing which extends a corporation’s markets – for water purification sachets or sanitary napkins — in the guise of providing essential services to the poor.

In Bhopal, Unilever and Population Services International (PSI) are sensitising citizens to the importance of clean drinking water and providing them with purifier sachets. This joint initiative is being undertaken through their NGO Waterworks which, according to the company website, is “a not-for-profit programme that will provide safe clean drinking water to communities in need around the world”. “In its initial stage,” Unilever says, “PSI will train 75 Waterworkers who will educate the neediest people in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, about the need for clean water and its opportunity to improve the health and wellness of their community. They will distribute life-saving Pureit sachets and purifiers to these families.” [...]

Though there is no doubt there are millions of people without access to clean drinking water, should a product be tested and sold in the guise of a public service, and with the involvement of an established NGO?

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