Strengthening accountability for business in nutrition

Global Nutrition Report

This is Chapter 8 from the 2015 Global Nutrition Report - Actions and accountability to advance nutrition and sustainable development. Key findings from the chapter include: 

  1.  Businesses profoundly affect nutrition by shaping decisions people make about the goods they buy. Businesses also affect the services people receive, the workplace conditions they experience, and the environmental impacts they face, and they contribute to the tax revenues available for public service delivery.
  2.  Business actions can have both positive and negative outcomes for nutrition. Greater accountability could help increase the former and minimize the latter.
  3.  There are many opportunities for business to engage positively in nutrition outside the usual sectors: mobile phone networks are one example.
  4.  Analysis helps identify areas of weak accountability. For example, the world’s 25 largest food corporations do especially poorly on disclosing information about their use of health and nutrition claims and on disclosing lobbying positions and activities.
  5.  A multitude of potential mechanisms exist to strengthen accountability—from legislative to voluntary to informal—but, given the relative capacities of some governments and large corporations, enforcement is likely to be weak.
  6.  Concrete actions can be taken to strengthen accountability of businesses for their impacts on nutrition.

This chapter also helpfully sets out types of business actions that impact nutrition outcomes and types of incentive mechanisms, as well as guidance around public private partnerships and managing conflict. 


This resource has been peer reviewed