Singapore Wins the Gold Standard Award for Policy Maker of the Year  

Singapore has been recognised as Policy Maker of the Year by the coveted Gold Standard Award. This award recognises the efforts of multiple stakeholders from government, the food industry, media companies and consumer groups in a ground-breaking approach to food advertising to children. Singapore's multi-stakeholder Committee on Advertising Guidelines, which was co-chaired by the Ministry of Health and the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), put in place an implementable framework to shift the balance of advertising towards foods and meals that are healthier in nutrient composition. Key members of this committee included the Health Promotion Board (HPB), Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Food Industry Asia (FIA).

This initiative taken by a range of public and private actors resulted in a self-regulatory framework to reduce children’s exposure to advertising of less healthy foods. These new guidelines will be incorporated into the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP) and will take effect from 1 January 2015.

Back in 2012, 14 multi-national companies announced a public pledge to cease all product advertising to children under 12 unless their products met specific nutrition criteria. This pledge was facilitated by FIA and the companies agreed not to engage in any commercial communications to children related to food and beverage products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with the school administration for educational purposes.

The multi-stakeholder Committee on The Guidelines for Food Advertising to Children was established by the Ministry of Health in September 2013. This facilitated a robust dialogue across experts from multiple sectors and the group designed an implementable framework on food advertising to children. These new Guidelines and Nutrient Criteria were announced at a special press conference on 26 September which received widespread, positive press coverage in national and regional media.

Commenting on the innovative use of public-private partnerships, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Health, said “In Singapore, the development of the food advertising guidelines was developed through a public-private partnership. The guidelines are developed for industry self-regulation. This public private partnership is preferred as it is a win-win approach for both MOH/HPB and the industry in developing robust standards in food advertising that would protect the well-being of Singapore’s children.”

Bev Postma, Executive Director of FIA said “We are delighted that this initiative has been recognised with this prestigious award by PublicAffairsAsia. This well-deserved acknowledgment is a testament to the outcomes that can be achieved when Governments and businesses work collaboratively with other stakeholders towards a shared goal that benefits society. We should celebrate the success of this multi-stakeholder partnership in Singapore, which was chaired by the Ministry of Health and ASAS and offers a winning strategy for solving difficult societal issues”.

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