Home > Uncategorized > The Dark Arts of Big Tobacco

The Dark Arts of Big Tobacco

Local Government pension funds typically have policies that advocate engagement with the companies in which they invest in order to address any perceived shortcoming in corporate behaviour.  Often this involves consideration of their corporate social responsibility activities.

A fascinating and worrying piece of research (open access) from the USA has just been published which shows how Big Tobacco has been instrumental in the creation of Tea Party politics in that country. The paper demonstrates how tobacco companies used third party organisations and front groups to seek to undermine tobacco control efforts, while remaining hidden in the shadows themselves.

You can read the full paper here: http://goo.gl/7wlhv

They are still using these tactics in the US, UK and Europe.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control guidelines require that UK local government pension funds do not engage with tobacco companies Corporate Social Responsibility activities:

“The tobacco industry conducts activities described as socially responsible to
distance its image from the lethal nature of the product it produces and sells
or to interfere with the setting and implementation of public health policies.
Activities that are described as “socially responsible” by the tobacco industry,
aiming at the promotion of tobacco consumption, is a marketing as well as
a public relations strategy that falls within the Convention’s definition of
advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
The corporate social responsibility of the tobacco industry is, according to
WHO, an inherent contradiction, as industry’s core functions are in conflict
with the goals of public health policies with respect to tobacco control.”

 

Perhaps this new paper will give pause for thought to pension fund managers and indeed local authorities more generally who are engaged with tobacco company CSR activities.

 

 

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