Corporate Practices and the Implementation of Self-Regulation - The Food Pyramid Meets the Regulatory Pyramid: Responsive Regulation of Food Advertising to Children
34 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015
Date Written: May 4, 2015
This chapter forms part of a thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of a PhD from the Faculty of Law, University of Sydney.
The success of self-regulation depends upon whether companies internalise the social norms contained in voluntary codes. Accordingly, this chapter describes how and why food and alcohol companies comply with voluntary advertising initiatives (to the extent that they do). It draws upon interviews conducted with representatives of signatories to the RCMI, QSRI and ABAC, who have been given pseudonyms to protect their anonymity. The chapter also analyses selected food and alcohol company corporate social responsibility documents, as well as findings from the independent review of food industry self-regulation, published in 2012. I describe how transnational food and alcohol companies have attempted to meet public demands for more responsible marketing practices through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. Then I describe the reasons that Australian food and alcohol companies give for adopting advertising self-regulation and how they integrated code requirements into their marketing activities. I present the paradox that some companies are adhering tightly to voluntary initiatives, yet self-regulation has had little impact on children’s overall exposure to food and alcohol advertising. One explanation for the codes’ lack of impact lies in their weak substantive standards. While this is not fatal to the success of self-regulation, I conclude that food companies have few incentives to adopt the more demanding restrictions that could significantly improve the food marketing environment.
Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, internal compliance systems, self-regulation, food industry, alcohol industry
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation