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Why media representations of corporations matter for public health policy: a scoping review

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Media representations play a crucial role in informing public and policy opinions about the causes of, and solutions to, ill-health. A new paper, published in BMC Public Health, reviews studies analyzing media coverage of non-communicable disease (NCD) debates, focusing on how the industries marketing commodities that increase NCD risk are represented. A scoping review identified 61 studies providing information on media representations of NCD risks, NCD policies and tobacco, alcohol, processed food and soft drinks industries. Continue reading Why media representations of corporations matter for public health policy: a scoping review

Secrets of a Global Super Court

A parallel legal universe, open only to corporations and largely invisible to everyone else, helps executives convicted of crimes escape punishment. In a four part series, BuzzFeed investigates investor-state dispute settlements, or ISDS, a process for settling disputes between corporations and governments.  The rules for settling investor-state disputes are written into a network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.

New Book on Corporations and Global Health Governance

Case Studies on Corporations & Global Health Governance, edited by Nora Kenworthy, Ross MacKenzie and Kelley Lee, presents interdisciplinary case studies on how corporations influence global health governance and how they could be held more accountable.  The empirical studies examine several industries across high, low and middle income countries and explore the impact of corporations and their allies on the governance processes that shape population health.

Leaked TTIP documents released

Earlier this month, Greenpeace Netherlands released secret documents from the EU-United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The 248 leaked pages comprise TTIP negotiating texts, including the US position, and internal EU documents outlining the state of play of the trade talks.  They are available at At the release, Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace EU, said: “Greenpeace Netherlands has made these documents publicly available to bring some much needed transparency to the debate on TTIP. We have seen grave concerns for environment and public health confirmed, and invite others with expertise in different areas to download these documents and analyse the impacts of this trade deal. The public has a right to know what is being traded away in their name.” The Greenpeace analysis of the documents is available here.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Is It Everything We Feared for Health?

Photo: Protesters concerned about the TPP effect on health gather in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit.

by Ronald Labonté, Ashley Schram, Arne Ruckert

Negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment agreement have recently concluded. Although trade and investment agreements, part of a broader shift to global economic integration, have been argued to be vital to improved economic growth, health, and general welfare, these agreements have increasingly come under scrutiny for their direct and indirect health impacts. 

Continue reading The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Is It Everything We Feared for Health?

Ten of the world’s biggest food and beverage companies battle to improve their social sustainability through the Behind the Brands campaign

Nine of the “Big 10” global food and beverage companies have improved their ratings by at least 10 percent in three years since Oxfam began keeping score through its “Behind the Brands” scorecard. Oxfam highlighted the major strides most of them have made to improve their policies on land rights, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and gender equality in company supply chains. Kellogg (up 30 percent) and Unilever (up 26 percent) made the most progress across all themes since the campaign began.

Globalization, Health and Corporations

What are the positive and negative health consequences of globalization?  How do trade pacts influence health?  What role do corporations play in shaping the direction of globalization?  On April 4, 2016, Ron Labonté, Research Chair in  Globalization and Health Equity at the School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ottawa addressed these and other questions at a talk on “Globalization and the (new) political economy of health”  at the City University of New York School of Public Health.  View the presentation here.

photo credit: Institute of Population Health, 2007