American Express announced a new partnership today with the UK's Product RED to help fund the fight against AIDS and malaria on the African continent. As part of the program, the financing giant has launched a new product, American Express Red, a credit card that will contribute 1% of everything spent with the card toward the humanitarian group the Global Fund. (Product RED is an initiative whose primary objective is to engage the private sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa by channelling funds from the sale of RED products directly to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.)
American Express RED will be the first credit card to meet the payment needs of a new and growing group of individuals it calls 'Conscience Consumers.' These are consumers who make decisions about the brands they purchase based on their social, ethical and environmental values. Companies whose products take on the RED mark have made a commitment to contribute a portion of profits from the sale of that product to the Global Fund to finance AIDS programs in Africa.
Besides Amex, current partners are Converse, Gap and Giorgio Armani. Launch partners will channel a portion of profits to the fund from selected 'Red-branded' goods -- including, respectively, T-shirts, wraparound sunglasses and training shoes made from African mudcloth. Rumors are circulating that Apple may join by offering its highly popular ipod in red.
The companies will roll out the Red brand in various markets at different stages, mainly targeting Britain at first, where Amex expects a market of some four million 'conscience consumers' by 2009. It will unveil its card in the UK in March.