About the Call to Action – A Fresh Approach
The following Call to Action was put forth on June 25, 2020 by eight civil society organizations (CSOs) and United Nations (UN) agencies, inviting all manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) to make a public commitment to and achieve full compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and all its subsequent resolutions (the Code) by 2030.
Call to Action
In order to help ensure that all infants and young children worldwide are optimally breastfed and eat a healthy diet, we call on all manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes to take the following steps in 2020:
1. Publicly commit your company to full compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions (the Code) globally (including coverage of breastmilk substitutes up to 36 months of age), and disclose a concrete plan for achieving this goal by 2030 at the latest, with delineation of clear incremental steps.
2. As a first step toward full Code compliance, by the end of 2020:
For companies that do not currently have a BMS marketing policy, adopt a Code-aligned BMS marketing policy for all countries for products marketed as suitable for infants between birth and 12 months of age, and commit to upholding your policy including in all jurisdictions where regulations are absent or less stringent than your policy. In countries where national law is more stringent than your policy, adherence to national law always takes precedence.
For companies that have a BMS marketing policy in place, ensure that your current policy and practices (including promotion to consumers and healthcare providers) are Code-aligned and for products marketed as suitable for infants between birth and 12 months of age, extend them to all countries, and commit to upholding your policy in all jurisdictions even where regulations are absent or less stringent than your policy. In countries where national law is more stringent than your policy, adherence to national law always takes precedence.
3. Commit to support the adoption and implementation of national legislation fully aligned with the Code in order to create a level playing field for all companies.
4. Agree to provide information on your company’s policies and practices to the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI) as requested, recognizing ATNI as an independent actor responsible for monitoring companies’ progress toward their plans for achieving Code compliance.
The Call to Action takes a new approach to mark progress on the persistent issue of Code compliance, marking initial first steps to be completed by 2020, with full Code compliance to be achieved as soon as possible (by 2030 at the latest) and companies setting their own course to reach that goal.
BMS companies are at different stages on the road to full Code compliance
Some companies have already established policies and enforcement mechanisms in line with some elements of the Code in place, while others have no policy at all.
However, every company needs to make strides to ensure that they are upholding the Code in terms of policy and practice in every country they operate in and for all products targeting children aged 0-36 months.
The approach the Call to Action establishes takes this variance across the industry into account, calling on companies to submit implementation roadmaps by 2020, illustrating the steps that they will take to achieve full Code compliance by 2030 at the latest.