On 5 August, the Malaysian Food Manufacturing Group (FMM MAFMAG) launched the Responsible Advertising to Children – Malaysia Pledge as part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to supporting healthy, active lifestyles.

This follows an endorsement last year from Malaysia’s Ministry of Health’s (MOH) for a self-regulatory mechanism on responsible marketing to children based on a set of independently monitored criteria.

Demonstrating his support for the Pledge, the Minister of Health, Y.B. Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam attended the launch of the Pledge alongside leaders from across Malaysia’s food and beverage industry.

The ten Pledge signatories – Coca-Cola, F&N Beverages & Marketing, F&N Dairies, Guan Chong Cocoa Manufacturer, Mars, McDonald’s, Mondelēz, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever –have committed to:

  • Only advertise products that meet agreed nutritional criteria based on accepted scientific evidence or applicable national and international dietary guidelines or not at all to children under 12 years of age;
  • Not have any forms of communication related to products in primary schools except when requested by, or agreed with the school administration for educational or informational purposes;
  • Not use children, celebrities who are known to children, or licensed cartoon characters in advertising primarily directed to children under the age of 12, unless the advertising complies with the specific nutrition criteria.

Each of the Pledge signatories will develop their own nutritional criteria and publish their specific individual company commitments by 1 January 2014.

FMM MAFMAG Chairman, Mr Mohd Shah Hashim, said the Pledge, launched on Monday, had been developed in collaboration with the MOH and the Malaysian Advertisers Association as part of a broader commitment by FMM MAFMAG towards contributing actively in tacking non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

In his speech during the launch event, he expressed his appreciation to the Ministry of Health for recognising the role that the private sector has “towards finding a solution in combating obesity and NCDs; a complex issue that goes beyond advertising”.

“The food and beverage industry is committed to finding a long-term sustainable solution [to the obesity issue]. The launch of the Malaysia Responsible Advertising to Children Pledge demonstrates a real commitment by these food and beverage companies to change the way they advertise to children in Malaysia. It mirrors several Pledges currently in place across more than 20 countries covering 2.9 billion people across the world.

“Our efforts will not stop after today. We look forward to having more companies to join the Pledge in the coming months. We will also be organising a conference with the SME Corporation Malaysia to educate the SMEs on the benefits of responsible advertising to children,” Mr Shah said.

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