Choose one of the CSR challenges described below. Write a paper as described.
1. Food industry and public health – read the articles (see these uploaded files) about how food companies try to influence government nutrition policies. How do you think nutrition guidelines and school lunches should be designed and regulated? What role do you think the food industry should play? What is their social responsibility? If you wanted to ensure that government nutrition guidelines and school lunches were developed based on objective nutrition science, how might you organize a stakeholder campaign to move in that direction? Using no more than 750 words, describe who the key stakeholders are, and which stakeholder(s) would be most effective. Describe what you would want your designated stakeholder(s) to do. What are some specific goals you could identify? How would you evaluate success? What are metrics you could use in your campaign?2. Wells Fargo Hall at UCSD – Wells Fargo has been found guilty of massive ethics violations including setting up fake accounts in the name of unknowing customers, and much more (see the presentation from Class #1.) If you think it’s inappropriate for the Rady School of Management at UCSD to have Wells Fargo’s name on one of its premier classroom buildings, how could you persuade the University to take the name off? Who are the stakeholders? What might be effective in creating this change? Describe what a campaign might look like to remove the WF name from the building.3. CSR Labels – Should consumer products be required to identify the environmental footprint associated with their production, distribution and sale? Similar to nutrition labels that mandate certain information to be provided to consumers, should clothing, vehicles, furniture, appliances, and other retail goods have labels that show CSR-related information such as how much CO2 was emitted and how much water, raw materials, and energy were used; and/or how much workers were paid who made the product? If so, how would you try to make that happen? Would you start with a voluntary or mandatory program? What stakeholders should be involved? What would a campaign look like?
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4,802 views | Jun 21, 2017, 07:30am
Soda And Fast Food Lobbyists Push
State Preemption Laws To Prevent
Rob Waters Contributor
Pharma & Healthcare
Anti-tax publicity adorns a soda delivery truck in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
When the city council of Santa Fe, New Mexico, placed a measure on the local
ballot to tax sugary drinks earlier this year, the soda industry responded quickly,
pouring $1.3 million into the anti-tax campaign. To cover their bases, industry
lobbyists also pursued a back-up plan: they backed a bill in the state legislature to
strip local governments of the power to levy such taxes.
In the end, the state language was added to another bill that sailed through the
New Mexico House before dying in a Senate committee, shortly before Santa Fe
voters defeated the local soda tax. But as a growing number of cities consider and
increasingly pass soda taxes and other measures designed to combat obesity and
promote healthy eating, the food industry has turned to a strategy used
extensively by the tobacco and gun lobbies.
The strategy, known as preemption, uses state laws to take away the right of cities
to enact various kinds of regulations, reserving that power to the state. The
tobacco industry used preemption to block or weaken local ordinances that ban
smoking in public spaces. The firearms industry used it to beat back local efforts
to control gun sales.
Now, lobbyists for numerous industries, including soda makers and fast-food
chains, are pushing state laws that block municipal governments from adopting
local controls. Aiding the effort is the American Legislative Exchange Council
(ALEC), a group backed by corporations and conservative foundations, which
brings together state lawmakers and industry lobbyists to draft and disseminate
At least nine states have passed nutrition-related preemption laws, according to
Grassroots Change, a nonprofit group that monitors state preemption efforts.
Others have adopted measures that keep cities from requiring employers to
provide paid sick leave or nullifying laws that protect gay or transgender people
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The federal government can also preempt state and local law. In recent years,
Congress has passed several bills with preemption provisions, including a
revision of the key 40-year-old federal act regulating chemicals, a law requiring
restaurants to display nutrition information, and another relating to disclosure of
the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products. These laws
also limit states and cities from regulating the same products, though each does
so in different ways.
In 2011, the National Academy of Medicine urged in a report that federal and
state legislators avoid wording preemptive laws “in a way that hinders public
health action.” But a growing number of state legislatures are ignoring that plea.
A 2011 Arizona law bars local governments from regulating restaurant giveaways
of toys and prizes like those given to children eating McDonalds Happy Meals or
at the Chuck E. Cheese pizza chain.
A “Mario”-themed Happy Meal toy at a McDonald’s restaurant on July 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Nintendo of America via Getty Images)
Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Utah ban regulations requiring restaurants to
publicly display nutritional information.
Mississippi and Ohio bar both these types of regulations and Wisconsin prohibits
cities from restricting food or drink sales based on size, caloric content or
In New Mexico, the soda tax preemption language was added at the last minute to
a 300-page substitute bill addressing a variety of tax issues, said William Fulginiti,
executive director of the New Mexico Municipal League, an association
representing cities, which opposed the preemption as an infringement on the
rights of local communities.
“It was done quickly. I don’t think they were even aware of what was in the bill,”
Fulginiti said of House members who passed the substitute tax measure. Fulginiti
said the original bill had been supported by The Coca-Cola Co. and that a Coke
lobbyist had visited him to push for the bill.
Sarah Maestas Barnes, the New Mexico legislator who introduced the original
preemption measure, received a $1,000 campaign contribution last year from
Admiral Beverage Corp., which manufactures and distributes Pepsi and other
drinks. Barnes didn’t return several phone calls and emails seeking comment.
One of the most sweeping laws, passed last year in Kansas, includes a preemption
for almost every industry. It prevents cities from banning restaurant toy
giveaways, keeps them from requiring display of nutrition information and blocks
them from restricting the “growing or raising of livestock or grain, vegetables,
fruits or other crops.”
The same Kansas bill also bars cities from setting their own minimum wage rules,
requiring developers to pay prevailing wage in construction projects, or
mandating that employers provide sick leave. And for good measure, it also bars
residential rent control.
Kevin Walker, a lobbyist for the American Heart Association, thought the bill was
a bad idea and would intrude on efforts to promote healthier eating in a state that
had the seventh highest obesity rate in the country. Other public health groups
including the American Cancer Society, KC Healthy Kids and Oral Health of
Kansas also opposed the bill.
The Chamber of Commerce, Kansas Beverage Association and Kansas Corn
Growers Association supported it, as did Americans for Prosperity, a
conservative, free-market advocacy group. Deputy director Rodger Woods argued
that, without the bill, the state’s 700 local and county governments could all pass
different rules, leading to a “balkanized series of different food-sales
In fact, no city in Kansas had passed or even proposed a soda tax, nutritionlabeling regulation or ban on Happy Meals, according to Walker. “Nobody was
talking about it,” he said. “Legislation to preempt these activities looked like a
solution in search of a problem.”
As proponents shopped the bill around, they cast it as “the anti-Bloomberg bill,”
the enemy of nanny-state advocates like former New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, said Walker. To rural Kansas Republicans, he said, Bloomberg was
the perfect villain, “a big city mayor, Big Brother telling you what you can do and
Bloomberg, of course, had famously gotten his city to ban smoking in restaurants,
eliminate the use of trans fats, require restaurants to post calorie counts and limit
the size of sodas, a policy later overturned in court.
Walker suspected the bill might be the work of ALEC, a business-backed group
with a roster of corporate members and some 2,000 state legislators. He knew it
was being pushed by ALEC member Gene Suellentrop, a state lawmaker who
owns a chain of pizza restaurants, as well as Senate President Susan Wagle and
then-House Speaker Ray Merrick, both members of ALEC’s board of directors.
Sure enough, ALEC’s website included model legislation dubbed the “Food and
Nutrition Act,” with many provisions nearly identical to the Kansas legislation.
The group, whose members include corporations and some 2,000 state legislators,
holds annual retreats that bring together lawmakers and industry lobbyists. In a
brochure, ALEC boasted that its model bills are introduced about 1,000 times in
every legislative cycle and pass 17 percent of the time.
The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and Kraft Foods were all members of ALEC until
2011. (They quit under pressure in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin killing as
civil rights group targeted ALEC for its support of “stand-your-ground” laws like
one in Florida.)
The American Beverage Association, the trade association for the soda industry
also has been an ALEC member, according to the Center for Media and
Democracy, a corporate watchdog group that has done extensive research on
ALEC. (The Center’s executive director, Lisa Graves, is a member of the board of
directors of US Right to Know.) Among ALEC’s funders are foundations endowed
by Charles and David Koch, Peter Coors and other right-wing industrialists.
Michael Taylor, a lobbyist for Wyandotte County, which includes Kansas City,
said he found the Kansas bill to be so overreaching that he “went on a rant” at a
legislative hearing. In his testimony, he told the lawmakers that his county
doesn’t require nutrition labeling and has no plan to do so.
“So why are we dealing with this bill?” he asked. “It’s because it comes from the
American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that often seeks
solutions to problems which don’t exist, at least in Kansas.”
Taylor noted that the concept of local control “is a mainstay of the Kansas
constitution” and a purported principle of ALEC. Yet, he said, “ALEC model
policies are about monolithic, top-down, centralized, big brother laws which
attempt to impose the views of its big money corporate members on every county,
city and citizen in America. That’s hardly small government, limited government,
or local control.”
Despite the opposition from Taylor and public health groups, the Kansas bill
passed overwhelmingly and became effective July 1, 2016.
State preemption as a concerted strategy “was essentially invented by the tobacco
industry in the mid 1980s,” says Mark Pertschuk, an attorney and public health
advocate who directs Grassroots Change. In the 80s, he said, activists were
winning passage of no-public-smoking ordinances in a growing number of cities,
including in Florida.
But in 1985, the tobacco industry was able to water down a proposed statewide
“Clean Indoor Air Act” in Florida and insert preemption language that kept local
governments from passing stricter measures. Local public health groups thought
they had won a victory and invited Stanton Glantz, a famed tobacco researcher at
the University of California San Francisco, to attend the signing ceremony for the
Glantz read the text of the new law on the airplane and realized his Florida allies
had been fooled. “They got snookered,” he said. “They didn’t understand that a
bad piece of legislation was worse than nothing.”
After their success in Florida, the tobacco industry pursued a “50-state strategy,”
Pertschuk said, trying to get similar preemption laws passed in statehouses
around the country. By the end of the 1990s, more than 20 states had passed
them, he said.
This effort was outlined by Philip Morris executive Tina Walls, who called
statewide preemption “the solution” at a 1994 internal strategy meeting. “By
introducing preemptive statewide legislation we can shift the battle away from
the community level back to the state legislature, where we are on stronger
ground,” she said.
The National Rifle Association began pushing for statewide preemption laws after
a couple of North Carolina cities, Durham and Chapel Hill, passed local guncontrol measures. In 1995, the state legislature passed a bill declaring “that the
entire field of regulation of firearms is preempted from regulation by local
governments.” Today, 45 states have laws that partly or completely keep cities
from enacting gun controls, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
A dozen states still have laws preempting local control over smoking in public
places, according to Grassroots Change.
Preemption at the federal level is also a potent weapon against state and local
regulation. Last year, Congress reformed the Toxic Substances Control Act for the
first time since it was passed 40 years ago. While the new law gives the
Environmental Protection Agency jurisdiction over thousands of chemicals
originally exempted from its review, it also largely prevents state and local
governments from passing their own new controls.
In the area of nutrition, public health advocates have been pushing for years to
require restaurant chains to provide calorie counts and other nutrition
information on their menus. A few cities, including New York, Seattle and San
Francisco, passed local regulations. Public health groups also sought national
legislation. Their efforts finally succeeded when menu-labeling requirements
were built into the Affordable Care Act, which passed and became law in March
2010. What followed next was delay and confusion.
The Food and Drug Administration was tasked with gathering public input and
developing rules implementing the law. That process took several years as
industry groups sought to weaken the rules and delay implementation. Finally,
the rules were set to go into effect on May 5, seven years after the law had passed.
Instead, on May 4 — the day before the rules were to take effect — the FDA
published a notice that it was delaying the rule and inviting a new round of public
The delay creates more confusion about what cities can and cannot do. New York
has decided to go ahead and implement its own local regulations that closely
match the federal law. Seattle, one of the first cities in the country to require
chain restaurants to post information about the nutritional content of meals, is
now in limbo.
Hilary Karasz, a spokesperson for the King County Health Department, said the
county, which includes Seattle, stopped enforcing the local rules several years ago
after the national law was passed. Now, she says, “we are waiting to see how it all
On June 7, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the National
Consumers League, two Washington-based nonprofit groups, announced they
were suing the FDA in federal court for again delaying enforcement of the sevenyear-old restaurant menu labeling law.
Dr. William Paul, the health director for metropolitan Nashville, has been trying
to address this issue for years. In 2008, Nashville, like most cities, was contending
with exploding rates of obesity and diabetes from people consuming too much fat,
sugar and calories and getting too little exercise. He proposed a regulation that
would make Nashville the first city in the south to require chain restaurants to
display calorie counts on their menus so patrons would know what they were
“We wanted to make it easier for people to eat healthier,” Paul said. “Menu
labeling was one strategy to let families make choices for themselves about what
they were going to eat.”
The board held public hearings, conducted polls that showed strong support for
the measure, and passed the measure 4-1. But before it had even passed,
legislation was introduced in the state legislature stripping local health boards of
the authority to pass such a measure. Two months later, the measure passed and
Nashville’s menu-labeling regulation was dead.
The debate did at least provoke conversation and raise some awareness about the
important of people thinking about what they eat and drink, says Paul. But it also
taught him another lesson.
“Industry has a lot of power and they’re willing to use it,” he said. “And they don’t
always have the health and safety of consumers as their main driver.”
Rob Waters is a health and science writer based in Berkeley, California.
Rob Waters Contributor
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The Health 202: Coca-Cola emails reveal how soda industry
tries to influence health officials
By Paige Winfield Cunningham
Six miles lie between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Coca-Cola’s
headquarters in downtown Atlanta. But more than just geographical proximity is
fueling concerns that the soda giant is exerting undue influence over the federal agency
that’s supposed to protect the health of Americans.
Emails sent between Coca-Cola employees and top CDC officials from 2011 to 2015 show the
corporation tried to use its influence with the agency to push the World Health Organization to
emphasize exercise over diet as the solution to the obesity epidemic, per a report published today in
the health policy journal Milbank Quarterly.
It’s not the first time public health advocates have drawn attention to ties between Coca-Cola and
public health agencies (check out this and this). But the exchanges provide fresh evidence of
the ways the food industry — in this case, the world’s leading producer of sugarsweetened beverages — seeks to direct public policy in its favor, often in ways that run
contrary to science.
Consumer groups have alleged that Coca-Cola tried to sway the CDC toward policies that would
benefit its products by corresponding with top agency officials and donating to the CDC Foundation.
The newly released emails are just the latest correspondence obtained by requests under the Freedom
of Information Act.
In one email, former Coca-Cola senior vice president Alex Malaspina wrote that WHO “should not
only consider sugary foods as the only cause of obesity but to consider also the lifestyle changes that
have been occurring throughout the universe.”
“The emails we obtained using FOIA requests reveal efforts by Coca-Cola to lobby the CDC to advance
corporate objectives rather than health, including to influence the World Health Organization,” the
There’s a growing pile of evidence that a sugar-heavy diet contributes even more than previously
thought to weight gain, and it’s hard to combat the effects simply through exercise. Yet Coca-Cola,
PepsiCo and other beverage companies have sought — through influencing
policymakers and lawmakers, misleading marketing campaigns and philanthropy — to
shift the blame away from sugar consumption toward a lack of physical activity.
“One of the things that the sugar industry has so far been quite successful in is denying the strong and
emerging science related to the adverse effects of surgary drinks,” said Peter Lurie, president of the
Center for Science in the Public Interest.
That influence was apparent in former first lady Michelle Obama’s well-documented pivot from
criticizing the food industry to encouraging kids to exercise more with her “Let’s Move” campaign.
Yet failing to tell the whole story about what really causes weight gain — and a host of
related conditions including diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and cancer — carries huge
ramifications. Obesity is estimated to generate $147 billion in medical costs in the United States
every year. That number is expected to continue rising, as a generation of youth with unprecedented
levels of obesity reach adulthood.
Some recent CDC officials have worked closely with Coca-Cola. The agency’s former
director Brenda Fitzgerald, who resigned a year ago over financial interests from which she couldn’t
divest, worked on a childhood obesity program partially funded by the Coca-Cola Foundation while
serving as commissioner of Georgia’s public health department. That program emphasizes exercise
while saying little about sugary soft drinks.
And Barbara Bowman, director of the agency’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention,
resigned after the disclosure of emails in which she appeared eager and willing to help the beverage
industry create sway with the WHO.
“This looks like a local corruption story with global health implications,” Gary Ruskin, co-director of
the public health group U.S. Right To Know and one of the report’s authors, told me. “The CDC is
supposed to fight disease, not be a helpmate for these companies.”
Ruskin’s group filed a lawsuit against the CDC in early 2018, saying the agency faile …
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