Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Ronald McDonald Has a New Friend. (Corporate Sponsorship)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Ronald McDonald Has a New Friend. (Corporate Sponsorship)

Article excerpt

It's a marriage made under the golden arches. Unicef, the United Nations children's agency, has teamed up with McDonald's. The cash-strapped organisation gets money, the provider of nutritionally challenged food gets the kudos. Everyone's happy? Not quite.

The deal has split the international charity sector. It has also led to bitter recriminations within Unicef itself. The issue goes to the heart of the dilemma of all non-governmental organisations. When should they accept money from multinationals? For the companies, it's a no-brainer. It's part of the latest business fad-corporate social responsibility. They get the glory for devoting a minuscule part of their turnover for good causes.

As soon as the agreement was announced, however, it started to unravel. The European arm of Unicef wouldn't have anything to do with Ronald McDonald and his friends. Officials in the British section said they wouldn't go near it.

The project is now confined to the United States -- although that in itself will be a huge money-spinner. In the run-up to Hallowe'en on 31 October, American children can pick up trick-or-treat collection boxes from their local McDonald's. While they are prowling the streets for sweets that night, they can also collect coins for Unicef's fund to eradicate polio across the globe. …

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