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September 12, 2017

Vital Strategies Commends ban of the Tobacco Industry from United Nations Global Compact

(New York, USA) Vital Strategies welcomes today’s announcement by the United Nations (UN) Global Compact (UNGC) to exclude the tobacco industry from participating in their initiatives to foster development. UNGC is the world’s largest initiative for corporate responsibility to support the UN’s global health and development objectives, with the UNGC Board garnering CEO commitments to support the implementation of work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030.

UNGC officials announced this step was taken to safeguard the reputation of the United Nations, to ensure the promotion and recognition of responsible business, and to align its exclusionary criteria with the UN system – and specifically with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first global public health treaty.  The treaty requires parties to protect their tobacco control and public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.

“The UN Global Compact’s decision underscores that the tobacco industry is incompatible with human health and development,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies. “We commend the UNGC for its leadership in banning the tobacco industry, which time and again has shown they associate themselves with credible organizations and initiatives only to mask their unethical behavior, from undermining governments to marketing to children.

“This decision sends a strong message that the tobacco industry’s activities around the globe are incompatible with an initiative committed to responsible business, corporate sustainability and sustainable development. Given its role in spreading death and disease among millions of people and exacerbating poverty, the tobacco industry can only ever be a hindrance to sustainable development and the UN Goals.”

UNGC announced their decision today saying tobacco products are fundamentally misaligned with UNGC’s commitment to advancing business action towards the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, and is in direct conflict with the right to public health.

Tobacco consumption, a leading preventable killer, is responsible for 7 million deaths per year. Without urgent action around the world to implement proven tobacco control measures, global tobacco-related deaths will continue to grow to a billion this century. Nearly 80 percent of the more than one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is greatest. Without urgent action by governments around the world to implement proven tobacco control measures, global tobacco-related deaths will number one billion this century. Vital Strategies calls on all governments to fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and strongly enforce tobacco control policies to protect current and future generations from tobacco-related disease and premature death.

Read the UN Global Compact Board meeting report by clicking here.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health and tobacco control expert, please contact Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies, at +44.7889.081.170 or tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org

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