03 October 2018

New Article on Food Industry's Responsibilities under international human rights

Katharina Eva Ó Cathaoir (postdoctoral researcher at Welma) has published an article on the food industry’s responsibilities under international human rights law in the context of childhood obesity prevention in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights.

The article asks, what responsibilities, if any, do food and beverage companies have for preventing childhood obesity. It firstly outlines the impact of the major transnational corporations on children’s rights to health and adequate food. Thereafter, it analyses recommendations from human rights bodies, like the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and existing human rights guidelines, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Having assessed that companies do have emerging responsibilities, the human rights pledges of a selection of food and beverage companies are examined to assess whether companies internalise these recommendations.

This article determines that, so far, the food and beverage companies reviewed have failed to acknowledge their impact on nutrition focused rights in their human rights pledges. Existing guidance leaves companies with too much flexibility to mitigate conflicts effectively. Stronger indicators are necessary to ensure companies respect children’s rights.

The article is available for download here