Bono has launched Product RED, a global brand which will raise funds to fight AIDS in Africa. It's not philanthropy, he said, but 'doing good, will turn out to be doing good business.'
The launch of RED took place in Davos, Switzerland today, when Bono and Bobby Shriver joined with American Express, Gap, Converse and Giorgio Armani to unveil the T-shirts, shoes, sunglasses and credit card which are the first items in the new line.
A portion of profits from the sale of RED products will support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tubercolosis and Malaria, particularly programmes in Africa with a focus on women and children.
Bono warned that the world was losing the fight against HIV/Aids - with 6,500 Africans dying of the disease every day -and that RED is a commercial venture and not philanthropy.
'Philanthropy is like hippy music, holding hands,' he said. 'Red is more like punk rock, hip hop, this should feel like hard commerce.'
American Express will launch its no-fee RED Amex card in the UK promising that at least 1% of every pound spent will go to the global fund.
Gap will bring a range of RED-branded T-shirts, made in Africa, into US and UK shops, with more products later in the year.
Converse are putting out a range of limited edition Chuck Taylor All Star shoes, while designer Giorgio Armani unveiled sunglasses with plans for clothing, accessories, watches, perfumes and jewellery.
Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director, the Global Fund described RED as 'a breakthrough in corporate and consumer engagement for the greatest global crisis of our time - the HIV/AIDS pandemic.'
'RED can make a substantial contribution to financing the massive scale up of prevention, testing, treatment and care that are desperately needed in Africa.' he said.
"RED is a 21st century idea.' added Bono. 'It's an amazing thing that these companies are doing - lending their creativity and financial firepower to the Global Fund's fight against AIDS in Africa, the greatest health crisis in 600 years. I think doing the RED thing, doing good, will turn out to be good business for them.'
Feel the RED quality here
Read about RED and the Global Fund here
Join RED here