The commitments form part of a broader package of measures sent in a letter to World Health Organization director general Dr Margaret Chan, which will guide companies’ health and wellness strategies over the coming years.
Based on recommendations from the World Health Organisation as well as national governments and other organisations designed to improve global health, the package includes a commitment to product reformulation and innovation, as well as a common global approach to the provision of nutrition information on-pack, at point of sale and through other channels by the end of 2016.
It also includes an expansion of IFBA’s global marketing policy, in place since 2009, which specified that members would only advertise products that meet ‘better-for-you’ criteria or refrain from all product marketing to children under 12 years old.
The policy covers TV, print, schools, the internet and company-owned websites. The enhanced 2014 policy strengthens the policy in three core areas:
These new standards for marketing to children, which come into force by the end of 2016, will constitute the minimum global criteria for all IFBA companies.
“The major food and beverage companies have strict controls in place on how they communicate with younger audiences,” said Stephan Loerke, MD of the World Federation of Advertisers. “This latest strengthening of the IFBA global policy demonstrates the extent to which IFBA members are taking their responsibilities seriously when it comes to marketing to children.”
Importantly, these criteria will be used to update local ‘pledge programme’ initiatives that are based on the IFBA global policy, but which also bring in local companies in order to extend market coverage.
Local ‘pledge programmes’ are already in place in over 50 markets worldwide, representing roughly three billion of the world’s population, including Australia, Canada, the EU, the Gulf Cooperation Council, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the US.
Local schemes extend policy coverage well beyond IFBA membership. For example, the EU Pledge covers over 80% of the market, while the US Children’s Food & Beverage Initiative covers roughly 80% of food marketing spend in the US.
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