On June 5th, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would it would ban junk food advertisements from its programs that are oriented toward children. This unprecedented policy is intended to address concerns over growing childhood obesity rates. The guidelines will take effect in 2015 to accommodate existing advertising contracts.
On June 20th, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) publicly commended Disney for its bold statement of commitment to advancing childhood nutrition. Boston Common Asset Management, LLC, an ICCR member, joined in issuing praise:
“As a global media company, Disney correctly recognizes their responsibility to their customer base”, said Lauren Compere, Managing Director and Director of Shareholder Engagement at Boston Common, and treasurer on the ICCR governing board. “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.”
Boston Common, in collaboration with ICCR, has campaigned for Access to Nutrition across the food and beverage industry. Lauren Compere also represents Boston Common on the Expert Committee for the Access to Nutrition Index, a project of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), which is developing metrics to rank the performance of food and beverage companies on the nutritional value of their products and marketing.
Boston Common has been engaging Disney on Human Rights and other issues since 2007.