Exploring food marketing to children in the context of the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework: A salient human rights issue?







Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Institutt for sykepleie og helsefremmende arbeid



Master i samfunnsernæring


Background: Childhood obesity is increasing globally, and food marketing targeted to children is an acknowledged risk factor. It has been suggested that a human rights approach may improve food industry marketing conduct. The United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights clarify that businesses must respect all human rights, including rights relevant for child obesity. The principles state that businesses should perform a human rights due diligence process including public reporting to show that they respect human rights, allowing governments and civil society to assess their efforts. The UNGP Reporting Framework is developed to guide businesses in due diligence processes and public reporting. Businesses are asked to identify salient human rights issues: the most severe human rights impacts that they can be involved in. Purpose: To explore to what extent marketing of unhealthy foods to children may be regarded as a salient human rights issue that could be considered in human rights due diligence processes and reports under the UNGP Reporting Framework. Three research objectives were developed to explore the objective from different perspectives. Methods: Three methods were used: a document analysis of international human rights documents; a literature review on the extent and effects of food marketing to children; and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders. Results and conclusion: The results suggest that within the human rights system, food marketing to children is considered a relevant human rights issue, but that in practice, there is a lack of key stakeholders that address food marketing with a human rights perspective. Results also suggest that it may be challenging to meet the definition of salience under the UNGP Reporting Framework, but that the extent of food marketing to children could meet the definition. Finally, results suggest that key stakeholders at present do not consider human rights due diligence processes and public reports as relevant tools to improve food companies’ marketing practices.




Permanent URL

  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/5426