Indicator 7.1

Issue: Corporate commitment to public health

Indicator: Responsibility for and action on food and public health

Why is this issue important?

Diet is a key determinant both of individual health and the health of the nation. The evolving definition of public health, as recognised by national governments and the WHO, embraces the idea that for individuals to be able to live healthily, they must be aided by the organised efforts of society to create “supportive environments for health”. As gatekeepers of the food supply, and providers of a large proportion of our food, supermarkets are powerful partners in the process of creating such environments. Measures to prevent diet-related diseases potentially have a more significant impact on public health than measures to combat food contamination, important as these are.

What should retailers do about this issue?

Crucially, supermarkets should include public health indicators in their internal impact assessments. They should develop written policies setting targets for change in order to support public health goals — for example, the goal of boosting consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, or reducing salt intake. These policies would recognise that supermarkets have a role to play in influencing public health. Senior individuals should be responsible for these policies to formalise the commitment to maintaining and reviewing the policies.


Home | About | Issues | Results | Case studies | News | Contacts

Copyright ©2002 - 2003 IIED - all rights reserved

Site design and implementation by