Shareholders Support Mondelez Decision to Shield Kids Under 12 From Ads

Dec 22nd 2015

Commitment to Refrain from Direct Advertising to Under 12 Age Group Distinguishes Company as Best Practice Standard-Setter in Responsible Food Marketing to Kids.

NEW YORK, NY, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2015 – Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and shareholders in Mondelez are pleased to commend the company for its decision to ban direct advertising to children under 12 beginning in 2016.

ICCR members have been in dialogue with the company, advocating for stricter policies that will shield kids in the 6-11 age group from direct ads for snack foods and products that may compromise children’s nutrition. Child-directed advertising for snack foods, sugary drinks and other unhealthy foods has been linked to the epidemic of childhood obesity, as children are considered especially vulnerable to these advertising messages.

The shareholders believe the new policy sets the industry standard for responsible marketing to youth that will result in healthier food choices for children and importantly, establishes a model for other food companies to follow.

Said Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management, “Mondelez has shown us that it understands the risks some of these products pose for children’s health and is putting the right safeguards in place to ensure that children aren’t being directly targeted with ads that feature the ‘junk foods’ known to cause obesity and other health problems.” 

While the company had a policy in place that prohibited any advertising to children under six, and called for any advertising to children 6-11 to meet specific nutritional criteria, the new policy will go even further. According to Mondelez’ website:

We decided to further strengthen our Marketing to Children Policy. Starting January 1, 2016 we will no longer advertise our products directly to children under age 12, irrespective of the product's nutritional profile. We will focus all advertising efforts towards the parents and adults, giving them information and choices to help make mindful snacking decisions for themselves and their families. Our brands are in the process of transitioning their marketing campaigns.

The company is a founding member of the International Food & Beverage Alliance and has made a commitment to submit to third-party monitoring and reporting on its advertising activities to ensure kids aren’t exposed to ads for unhealthy foods. Mondelez prohibits all in-school marketing of its products and has made an additional commitment to have front of pack calorie information on relevant products by the end of 2016.

Continued Compere, “Mondelez’ policy revisions reflect common sense and appropriate consideration for the health of its young and impressionable customers. It is gratifying to see, and we are hopeful that other food companies are watching, and learning.”

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). Currently celebrating its 44th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.