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World AIDS Day 2001: NASDAQ and Business Fight HIV/AIDS

November 2001

Article: World AIDS Day 2001: NASDAQ and Business Fight HIV/AIDS
On Friday, November 30 -- the eve of World AIDS Day -- the NASDAQ stock exchange will join amfAR in focusing public attention on the growing global epidemic and urging business leaders to join the fight against HIV/AIDS. Introduced as the world's first electronic stock market in 1971, NASDAQ is the fastest growing major stock market worldwide and home to over half of the companies traded on primary U.S. markets.

Since the start of the epidemic, business has played a crucial role in supporting AIDS organizations like amfAR -- from making outright grants and sponsoring events to contributing in-kind gifts and conducting cause-related marketing campaigns. The involvement of corporations reflects not only their philanthropic spirit -- giving back to the communities they serve and which sustain them -- but also their awareness that HIV's spread poses a fundamental threat to their ability to do business.

amfAR encourages you to show your support for businesses that are taking an active role in the fight against AIDS.


How HIV/AIDS Affects Business

As outlined below, the spread of HIV/AIDS is having an enormous and growing impact on businesses worldwide -- one that business leaders can no longer afford to ignore.
  • Over 80% of the people dying of AIDS are between the ages of 20 and 50 -- the most economically productive years. These losses rob businesses of employees and customers, and are depleting the ranks of teachers and other professionals needed to maintain a working economy.

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  • HIV/AIDS increases business costs through higher health and life insurance expenses, more frequent absenteeism, and lower productivity. Some African companies report that AIDS costs are absorbing as much as one-fifth of their earnings.

  • AIDS also depletes human capital. As disease spreads, people invest less in their own and their children's education and save less, decreasing the pool of investment capital. Impoverished societies then spend less on health and education, locking economies into a downward spiral of decreased life expectancy and lower economic growth.

  • Additionally, the devastating impact of AIDS threatens broader social and political unrest -- clearly a threat to global business interests.

Beyond dollars and cents considerations, many companies now realize that concrete, visible action on HIV/AIDS issues can enhance their corporate image and build consumer loyalty. As Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, head of the largest private enterprise in the Philippines, has observed: "Corporate citizenship has now become a strategic priority. Ethical behavior is not just good morally in a business environment; it also builds a sustainable competitive advantage."

amfAR's World AIDS Day 1999 symposium at the United Nations focused on defining the social and business costs of HIV/AIDS. Moderated by ABC News "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel, the symposium panel included David E. Bloom, Ph.D., an amfAR Board member and professor of economics and demography at Harvard's School of Public Health.


How Business Can Help the Fight Against AIDS

Just as business has a financial stake in slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS, so, too, does the corporate sector possess skills and resources that could play a significant role in controlling the epidemic. For example, corporate marketing expertise could help craft effective prevention education campaigns. The workplace itself is an ideal venue for HIV prevention outreach, as well as efforts to fight the stigma associated with HIV. Corporate leaders could also help galvanize an energetic government response to the epidemic, particularly in developing countries where many officials have been slow to take action against HIV/AIDS.

As amfAR CEO Jerome Radwin commented recently: "The leadership, expertise, and ingenuity that are the lifeblood of American companies have the potential to transform the fight against AIDS."


Leading Corporate Supporters of amfAR

amfAR enjoys the support of a broad array of businesses, from giant multinationals to mom-and-pop retail operations, and representing industries as diverse as fashion and pharmaceuticals. There are hundreds of companies that have made significant contributions to the Foundation's work, and the current Gift Report includes a full listing of fiscal year 2000 corporate donors.

Here are just a few of the many companies that deserve special recognition for their generous and sustained support of amfAR's work:


American Airlines

Through its generous contribution of air transportation and related travel services, American Airlines helps enable amfAR to play a truly global role in the fight against AIDS. Additionally, American Airlines provides transportation for special guests and celebrities whose involvement in various special events is critical to raising funds for essential AIDS research and focusing public attention on the continued AIDS crisis.


Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Committed to "extending and enhancing human life," Bristol-Myers Squibb has a long history of working with amfAR. Most recently, the company generously supported the Foundation's effort to identify ways of encouraging women to participate in AIDS clinical trials and has underwritten several of amfAR's education programs, as well as a Harris poll gauging American public opinion on the state of the AIDS epidemic.


BVLGARI

A long-time corporate partner of amfAR's, BVLGARI provides generous in-kind support and has sponsored several major Foundation events, including Seasons of Hope in New York City and the Cinema Against AIDS events at both the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. In March 2001, the company teamed up with amfAR to introduce a special red ribbon pin that was worn by a number of celebrities at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards, broadcasting a message of AIDS awareness to millions of viewers.


Kenneth Cole Productions

Kenneth Cole was the first to promote AIDS awareness through corporate advertising, and his commitment to amfAR dates back to 1985. A portion of the annual Kenneth Cole Productions corporate advertising budget is devoted to AIDS awareness, and since joining the Foundation's Board of Directors in 1987, Kenneth Cole has played a pivotal role in shaping the Foundation's communications efforts, crafting a series of provocative public service ads. In addition, he provides sponsorship support for numerous special events and traditionally contributes a portion of his company's World AIDS Day sales proceeds to amfAR. Mr. Cole and his wife, Maria Cuomo Cole, will be among the co-chairs for amfAR's annual Seasons of Hope event on February 4, 2002.


KIEHL's Since 1851, Ltd.

A respected purveyor of top-of-the-line, botanical-based skin and hair care products, KIEHL's Since 1851, Ltd., has earned a well-deserved reputation for corporate philanthropy. In the years 1997 and 2001, KIEHL'S donated 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of its "Hand Care for a Cure" hand cream to amfAR, contributing over $250,000 towards the Foundation's clinical trial of treatments for individuals co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C.


Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton is a long-time corporate supporter of amfAR, lending its support to numerous benefit events. At amfAR's first Cinema Against AIDS Venice event at the Venice Film Festival in August 2000, the company unveiled a new line of vanity cases and cases designed by Sharon Stone, Chairman of amfAR's Campaign for AIDS Research, and produced by Louis Vuitton to benefit amfAR.


Miramax

amfAR has long enjoyed the support of the entire Miramax family -- both through personal and corporate gifts. Since 1991, Miramax has hosted six film premieres to benefit the Foundation, raising substantial sums for amfAR's programs and helping to counter the public's growing complacency about the epidemic. The company has also been a major supporter of amfAR's special events, particularly the annual Cinema Against AIDS gala at the Cannes Film Festival, which has raised nearly $10 million in support for essential AIDS research since its inception in 1993.


Victoria's Secret

In May 2000, Victoria's Secret generously sponsored amfAR's annual Cinema Against AIDS event at the Cannes Film Festival, helping to raise an astounding $2.6 million in support for AIDS research. The centerpiece of the event was a spectacular Victoria's Secret fashion show, featuring top supermodels such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and Karen Mulder.



  
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This article was provided by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Visit amfAR's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
 

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