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

See all articles by Belinda Reeve

Belinda Reeve

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: May 4, 2015

Abstract

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

Reeve, Belinda, Corporate Practices and the Implementation of Self-Regulation - The Food Pyramid Meets the Regulatory Pyramid: Responsive Regulation of Food Advertising to Children (May 4, 2015). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/41, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2602102

Belinda Reeve (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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