The role of large corporations in lobbying for policy change was the subject of a workshop at Medact‘s recent conference.
A number of Government appointed expert committees have recently made recommendations on pressing health issues, including minimum pricing of alcohol and food labelling. But their proposals have been kicked into the long grass by government after intensive lobbying by the food and drinks industry.
David Miller, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath explained how companies have a number of different ways of exerting influence on policy at a national and European level, including the presence and popularity of their brands, think tanks, lobbying groups, ‘partnership bodies’ where EU civil servants and industry representatives together advise the EU on policy, charities (funded by the industry) which purport to represent ‘consumer interests’, sophisticated PR, and ‘the revolving door’ through which civil servants move from Government departments straight into related jobs in industry.
Here are links to, or about, some of the organisations mentioned by Professor Miller:
- Business Europe
- Food Industry Lobby Group
- European Snacks Association
- Elite Policy Planning Groups
- European Policy Centre
- Scotch Whisky Association
- Spirits Europe
- Europe Transport Safety Council
- World Federation of Advertisers
- European Sponsorship Association
- European Forum for Responsible Drinking (note their former web address www.efrd.org now defaults to Spirits Europe
- EU Alcohol and Health Forum
- International Center for Alcohol Policies
- Cancer United
- TOAST (The Obesity Awareness and Solutions Trust)
- Scientific Alliance
- Social Issues Research Council
Professor Millier is a co-founder of Spinwatch, a public interest investigations organisation.
Medact is an organisation of health professionals working for a ‘safer, fairer and better world’.