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Re: Unicef in McDonald's link row

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  • Christine West
    Thought all of you would find this interesting, especially those who are concerned with global child health/nutrition. I found this partnership particularly
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2002

      Thought all of you would find this interesting, especially those who are concerned with global child health/nutrition.   I found this partnership particularly disturbing--I've always distrusted Unicef's motives and McDonalds, well... need I say more. 



          Unicef in McDonald's link row                               

          The UN's children's health and welfare charity Unicef is at 
      the centre of a row over its endorsement of a controversial     
      global fundraising and marketing campaign created by McDonald's,
      the fast food chain.                                            

          Under a public-private partnership deal, the charity stands 
      to make millions of pounds by lending both its name and resources
      to McDonald's World Children's Day event, which will be rolled  
      out in the burger firm's restaurants in 121 countries on November
      20 this year.                                                   

          The promotion, which aims to raise money for McDonald's     
      charitable arm and a dozen Unicef programmes, includes a pop    
      concert in China, which will be broadcast over the internet -   
      access to which can only be obtained by buying a Big Mac burger.
      Unicef will receive a cut of the profits from each Big Mac sold.

          In the US, 20m Unicef "trick or treat" charity collection   
      boxes used by children to collect money on Halloween night will 
      be distributed through McDonald's outlets. In Hong Kong, a joint
      promotion called "Love for our future with Unicef" is being     
      planned, with the charity benefiting from the sales of          
      specially-designed postcards available in restaurants.          

          Unicef claims that apart from benefiting financially, the   
      campaign will help raise the profile of both the charity and    
      wider child health issues. In the US, it hopes to "reach a whole
      new generation of children whose parents supported Unicef when  
      they were kids".                                                

          But public health specialists across the world have         
      criticised the charity's involvement with McDonald's, arguing   
      that the partnership could damage the credibility of its work on
      child health, nutrition and education, particularly in the third

          This week a letter sent to Unicef's executive director Carol
      Bellamy from more than 50 doctors, academics and activists argues
      that the World Children's Day partnership runs counter to the   
      charity's role in promoting good nutrition to the world's       

          It states: "McDonald's is a global leader in the marketing of
      junk food that is creating soaring rates of childhood obesity and
      type 2 diabetes, and that is disrupting traditional ways of food
      preparation in families and cultures. It is truly a challenge to
      see how this partnership with McDonald's is consistent with     
      Unicef's claim to promote 'good nutrition' to the world's       

          "As you know, McDonald's markets precisely the              
      high-added-fat, high-added-sugar junk food that undermines good 
      nutrition for the world's children."                            

          Unicef's New York office said last night said that the      
      partnership did not mean that Unicef endorses McDonald's or its 
      products. But a spokeswoman admitted that the charity was aware 
      of the concern expressed by the public health community and was 
      "watching the public response closely".                         

          Unicef is signed up to co-promote World Children's Day in   
      Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Japan,    
      Mexico, New Zealand and the US. The UK committee of Unicef said 
      it would not be involved with events held by the burger chain.  

          In a speech in May, UN secretary general Kofi Annan called  
      for the private sector to become more involved in UN efforts to 
      help children, arguing that "public-private partnerships have the
      power to help children in many ways".                           

          Geof Rayner, chairman of the UK Public Health Alliance, said:
      "Unicef needs the money and McDonald's can deliver it. There's  
      nothing wrong with corporate social responsibility in principle,
      but there's a question of whether the dividing line into        
      irresponsibility has now been crossed."                         

          Professor Tim Lang, professor of food policy at Thames Valley
      University and a UN consultant, told SocietyGuardian.co.uk: "It 
      is a sad, sad day if the UN's children and health charity is    
      reduced to taking sponsorship from a fast food company. Why     
      should we accept that Unicef has any credibility left?"         

          Jeanette Longfield, coordinator of the charity Sustain, the 
      alliance for better food and farming, said: "McDonald's is the  
      flagship for junk food, aggressively targeted at children. Does 
      Unicef think that this is an appropriate partnership?"          

          McDonald's World Children's Day coincides with the          
      anniversary of the UN's adoption of the Convention of the Rights
      of the Child in November 1989.                                  

          Full text: public health professionals' letter              

          Sent to Carol Bellamy, executive director of the United     
      Nations' children's charity, Unicef                             

          Saturday August 3, 2002 The Guardian                        

          Dear Ms Bellamy:                                            

          On July 19, Unicef announced its partnership with the       
      McDonald's Corporation to hold "McDonald's World Children's Day".

          In effect, Unicef is lending its good name and endorsement to
      McDonald's, the world's largest fast food chain. McDonald's is a
      global leader in the marketing of junk food that is creating    
      soaring rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and that
      is disrupting traditional ways of food preparation in families  
      and cultures.                                                   

          It is truly a challenge to see how this partnership with    
      McDonald's is consistent with Unicef's claim to promote "good   
      nutrition" to the world's children. As you know, McDonald's     
      markets precisely the high-added-fat, high-added-sugar junk food
      that undermines good nutrition for the world's children.        

          McDonald's is responsible for multimillion dollar ad        
      campaigns that prod children to nag, whine and throw tantrums so
      that their parents will consent to buy them junk food. The      
      company's ad campaigns deliberately foment conflict between     
      parents and children regarding food.                            

          It is not the proper role of Unicef to endorse or serve as  
      enabler for corporate activities of this kind. Do you really    
      think people contribute to Unicef so that you can help corporate
      advertisers to manipulate innocent and impressionable children  
      with sophisticated psychological techniques, cause strife in the
      home and promote the consumption of junk food?                  

          Unicef's mission is to protect children from just these     
      things. Therefore, we urge you to reconsider your partnership   
      with the McDonald's Corporation, and cancel "McDonald's World   
      Children's Day" immediately.                                    


          Enola Aird, director, the Motherhood Project, Institute for 
      American Values Monika Arora, programme director, HRIDAY-SHAN,  
      India The Honorable Danielle Auroi, member, European parliament,
      France Belen Balanya, co-author, Europe, Inc.: Regional and     
      Global Restructuring and the Rise of Corporate Power Peter      
      Barnes, co-founder, Working Assets; author, Who Owns the Sky?   
      Medea Benjamin, founding director, Global Exchange Stephen      
      Bezruchka MD, MPH, senior lecturer, department of health        
      services, school of public health and community medicine,       
      Washington University Louis Borgenicht MD, member, board of     
      directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility Brita Butler-Wall
      PhD, executive director, Citizens' Campaign for Commercial-Free 
      Schools Nancy Carlsson-Paige EdD, professor of child development,
      Lesley University Vittorio Carreri, presidente, Giunta esecutiva,
      SItI; head of the sanitary prevention unit of Lombardy Region   
      Joan Claybrook, president, Public Citizen The Honorable Ian Cohen
      MLC, New South Wales parliament, Australia Ronnie Cummins,      
      national director, Organic Consumers Association Donald R Davis 
      PhD, research associate in nutrition, biochemical institute,    
      Texas University Erica Frank MD, MPH, vice-chairwoman and       
      associate professor; director, preventive medicine residency    
      program, department of family and preventive medicine, Emory    
      University school of medicine Gary Goldbaum MD, MPH, associate  
      professor of epidemiology, Washington University Joan Gussow EdD,
      M S Rose professor emeritus, nutrition and education, teachers  
      college, Columbia University Andy Harris MD, board of directors,
      Physicians For Social Responsibility Paul Hawken, Natural Capital
      Institute Michael F Jacobson PhD, executive director, center for
      science in the public interest David L Katz MD, MPH, FACPM,     
      associate clinical professor, Yale school of medicine Joe Kelly,
      executive director, Dads and Daughters; and publisher, Daughters
      Newsletter: For Parents of Girls Michael Kieschnick, president, 
      Working Assets Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy Me Love: How   
      Advertising Changes the Way We Think And Feel Ronald M Krauss,  
      MD, senior scientist, life sciences division, Lawrence Berkeley 
      national laboratory; adjunct professor, department of nutritional
      sciences, University of California, Berkeley Velma LaPoint PhD, 
      associate professor of human development, Howard University     
      Pieta-Rae Laut, executive director, Public Health Association of
      Austrailia Diane Levin PhD, professor of education, Wheelock    
      College Jane Levine EdD, founder, Kids Can Make A Difference Lida
      Lhotska PhD, regional coordinator for Europe, International Baby
      Food Action Network Susan Linn EdD, associate director, media   
      center of the Judge Baker children's center; instructor in      
      psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Alison Linnecar, international
      coordinator, Geneva Infant Feeding Association Alan H Lockwood  
      MD, professor of neurology and nuclear medicine, University at  
      Buffalo; past-president and chairman, environment and health    
      committee, physicians for social responsibility Ben Manski,     
      co-chairman, Green Party of the United States Mohamed Marwoun MS,
      specialist, community medicine, ministry of public health, Saudi
      Arabia Bob McCannon, executive director, New Mexico media       
      literacy project Robert McChesney PhD, research professor,      
      institute of communications research, University of Illinois at 
      Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy Mary Anne  
      Mercer DrPH, senior lecturer, Washington University school of   
      public health and community medicine Jim Metrock, president,    
      Obligation, Inc. Mark Crispin Miller PhD, professor of media    
      ecology, New York University Diane M Morrison PhD, research     
      professor & associate dean for research, Washington University  
      school of social work Keven Mosley-Koehler MS, MPH, grant project
      manager, Group Health Community Foundation Robert K Musil PhD,  
      MPH, executive director and CEO, Physicians for Social          
      Responsibility Peggy O'Mara, editor and publisher, Mothering    
      Magazine Sheldon Rampton, editor, PR Watch Mike Rayner DPhil,   
      director, British Heart Foundation health promotion research    
      group John Rensenbrink, US representative, Global Green Network 
      The Honorable Lee Rhiannon MLC, New South Wales parliament,     
      Australia Gary Ruskin, executive director, Commercial Alert Ted 
      Schettler MD, MPH, science director, Science and Environmental  
      Health Network Juliet Schor, professor of sociology, Boston     
      College; author, The Overspent American and The Overworked      
      American John Stauber, executive director, Center for Media &   
      Democracy; co-author, Trust Us, We're Experts and Toxic Sludge is
      Good for You Vic Strasburger MD, professor of pediatrics,       
      University of New Mexico school of medicine; author, Children,  
      Adolescents, and the Media Karen Valenzuela MA, MPA, Washington 
      state public health association Susan Villani MD, medical       
      director, schools programs, Kennedy Krieger Institute; assistant
      professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins school of medicine Robert
      Weissman, co-author, Corporate Predators; co-director, Essential
      Action The Honorable Matti Wuori, member, European parliament,  

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