Clorox successfully petitions to include a fund-raising tie-in to the American Red Cross on product labels.
The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (EIN 93-1102740 Form 990) has released documents about a cause marketing arrangement between the Clorox Company and the American Red Cross that will put the Red Cross logo on the front and back label of five Clorox products in return for a donation of up to $1 million.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which supervises the labeling of toxic products, has approved the arrangement. The concern raised by PEER is that the cause marketing label will serve to confuse consumers and further reduce the prominence of safety and usage information. It appears to violate at least the spirit of EPA guidelines in related areas, for instance a prohibition on pesticide labels of "Symbols implying safety or nontoxicity, such as a Red Cross or a medical seal of approval (caduceus)."
The announcement was made at a December, 2006 meeting of SFIREG, a group that meets to coordinate federal and state activities relating to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Some of the state officials indicated that states might raise objections to the labeling.
Clorox sees this as part of a broader relationship with the American Red Cross, as it explains in this press release. Clorox has been donating household cleaning products in emergencies for twenty years. It is also mentioned in connection with water purification in emergencies, leading to some confusion when Clorox changed the formula and started including sodium hydroxide as well as sodium hypochlorite for its now standard Clorox Ultra.
Clorox also partners with American Red Cross on its NASCAR #47 car, driven by Jon Wood.
The PEER organization is an alliance of scientists, enforcement officers, and other professionals who work at the federal, state, and local levels. It has a ruling date of 1995 and its programs are environmental advocacy and support for whistle blowing employees. It currently reports income and expense a little under $1 million a year, primarily from contributions, and claims a staff of six, although the web site lists ten additional field staff positions. Director Jeff Ruch receives $57,500 a year and treasurer Carol Goldberg $22,300.