Key risk factors of NCDs are strongly associated with patterns of consumption and easy access to unhealthy products. Corporate influence is usually exerted through five main channels: increasing control over production and investment by large corporates; increasing control over marketing, particularly marketing to children, to increase the appeal and acceptability of unhealthy products; lobbying, which can negatively influence policies related to plain packaging and minimum drinking ages; corporate social responsibility strategies, to enhance positive image and extensive supply chains to exert influence all over the world.
From the NCD perspective, health outcomes are determined by influencing the social environment in which people live and work: the availability, cultural practices and prices of unhealthy products. Hence, the rise of non-communicable diseases is a manifestation of a global economic system that currently prioritises wealth creation over health creation. Many problems and solutions to address the risk factors lie outside the health sector, in the domains of finance, trade and investment policies.
Commercial determinants of health are a sub-set of the social determinants of health with which they interact, such as education, occupation, income, ethnicity, race, access to healthcare and structural determinants (socio-economic and political context) and affect individuals throughout the life course, as they shape disease risk factors and ultimately disease across the life span. The life-course approach to analysing the social determinants also provides an opportunity to identify potential entry points for action.
This session will entail a detailed analysis of the key commercial drivers of NCDs. It will present the main strategies and approaches used by the private sector to promote choices detrimental to health. These will include marketing, trade and foreign direct investment. The session will also examine the role played by different institutions in facilitating or regulating these, especially Governments, as well as other stakeholders including multilateral organizations and civil society.