The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility Praises Disney Guidelines on Food Advertising to Children
In Using Its Influence to Promote Responsible Nutrition, Media Company Shows Great Leadership
NEW YORK, NY/// June 20, 2012//Today, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility applaud Disney’s groundbreaking decision to set new standards for food and beverage advertising to children and families on Disney kid-oriented television and web channels. In an effort to limit calories and reduce saturated fat, sodium and sugar, Disney places its iconic children’s brand behind other national efforts to provide healthier alternatives for children in the fight against childhood obesity.
According to the company’s press release on their corporate website, Roger A. Iger, the Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company said, “We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families, and now we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids. The emotional connection kids have to our characters and stories give us a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives.”
With the introduction of their healthy living initiative in 2006, Disney has been promoting healthier meals at its resorts and theme parks and through its licensing. The new standards for advertisers build on the healthy living nutrition guidelines the company established in 2006 which are in alignment with federal standards that promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables along with reduced- calorie alternatives and healthier lifestyles for children and their families. All food and beverage advertisers will need to comply with the new standards by 2015 or they will be unable to purchase advertising space on any of the Disney kid-oriented networks.
“As a global media company, Disney correctly recognizes their responsibility to their customer base”, said Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management, an ICCR member that engages the company on other issues of corporate social responsibility. “Young children are not always able to distinguish between the programs they’re watching and commercials and, unfortunately, some food and beverage marketers take full advantage of this. Disney’s decision to self-regulate by developing standards for advertisers on their networks is a powerful illustration of corporate social responsibility in action and they are to be commended.”
Said Nadira Narine, ICCR Program Director, Strategic Initiatives, “As shareholders in some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, ICCR members have been calling for healthier product offerings and increased oversight of marketing to children as part of our access to nutrition work. The risk of litigation from obesity-related illness should be enough of an impetus to begin tailoring product offerings towards healthier, more nutritious alternatives. But Disney’s new advertising requirements provide additional incentive to both the food and beverage industries and the media industry to pay close attention to their messaging.”
Said Cathy Rowan of Trinity Health, “ICCR members have engaged the tobacco industry and publishers of violent video games and their retailers for many years on marketing to children, an issue we take very seriously. We are seeing increased scrutiny from industry regulators regarding false and misleading labeling and marketing claims, and there are even calls from local officials to impose bans on “supersized”, high calorie food and beverage products in an effort to control our nation’s obesity epidemic. We congratulate the Disney Company on this important, proactive initiative.”
ICCR Director of Communications
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):
Currently celebrating its 41th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.