Category D - Marketing

Category D - Marketing

D Responsible marketing policies, compliance and spending

(20% of overall score)

This Category captures the extent to which companies help consumers to make healthy choices by adopting responsible marketing practices and prioritizing the marketing of healthier products. The Category consists of two parallel groups of three criteria:

All consumers

D1 Responsible marketing policy

D2 Auditing and compliance with policy

D3 Spending on marketing healthy products*


D4 Responsible marketing policy

D5 Auditing and compliance with policy

D6 Spending on marketing healthy products*

To perform well in this Category, companies should:

  • Establish and implement a policy for marketing to all consumers that is comprehensive in its scope of guidance and applies equally to all media channels and all markets of operation. The policy should embrace and extend the requirements of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) general marketing code as well as the Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications.
  • Establish and implement a policy for responsible marketing to children that is comprehensive in its scope and applies equally to all media channels and all markets of operation.
  • Ensure that the policy for marketing to children sets a low percentage threshold for defining a child audience, i.e. 25% or lower. The policy should also explicitly commit either not to market any products to children under twelve, or to only market healthy products which are defined using a robust Nutrient Profiling System (NPS). Commit to using only responsible marketing techniques, particularly with online media.
  • Commission or take part in industry-level independent audits of compliance with these policies and disclose individual compliance levels or traditional and new media.
  • Demonstrate concrete commitments and actions for delivering marketing strategies to reach undernourished populations in developing countries with appropriate products, and report on progress.

Changes to the methodology compared to the 2013 Global Index:

  • The indicators for D1 and D2 remain the same. One indicator in D5, relating to disclosure, was modified slightly. Indicators in D4 are largely the same as in 2013; although they were re-ordered and some had more answers provided as options to help better understand companies’ commitments for different media channels, particularly new media. As noted, indicators D3 and D6, assessing companies’ marketing spending, were removed from the scoring of this Index.

*  This criterion was originally included in the 2016 Global Index methodology, with indicators that were more detailed than in the 2013 methodology. However, the research process revealed that the vast majority of companies could again not provide this information, as was the case in 2013. Therefore these indicators were not scored. See Box Z for more information.


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