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Product Red Aims to Raise Millions for Global AIDS Fund

At the World Economic Forum Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, a new project was announced to help fund HIV/AIDS programs for women and children in Africa. It’s called Product Red and aims to bring private sector money to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Rock star and humanitarian Bono announced the economic initiative along with Bobby Shriver, CEO of Product Red. They say it is the first time that the world’s leading companies have committed to channel a portion of their profits from sales of specially designed products to the Global Fund.

Adele Sulcas is with the Private Sector Partnerships Team at the Global Fund. From Geneva, she spoke to English to Africa’s Joe De Capua about how Product Red came about.

“Product Red was really an initiative that was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver of DATA, which is Debt, AIDS, Trade Africa, in trying to come up with a private sector initiative that could create a sustainable flow of funding for the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” she says.

How does it work? Sulcas says, “Well, Red is a brand. Red is a brand that is licensed to partner companies and the partner companies currently are American Express, Converse, Gap and Giorgio Armani. And each of these companies creates a Red-branded product and a portion of the profits from the sale of those products goes directly to the Global Fund.”

The effort could bring a substantial sum to the fund. “We don’t have any firm projections. Of course, we hope that it’s going to be substantial, into the millions and beyond. But we really can’t give you concrete number right now,” says Sulcas.

Currently, the private sector contributes less than one percent of the Global Fund’s needs. If successful, organizers say that could rise to 10 percent. It’s also hoped the Product Red brand will raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Global Fund.