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The world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, run by the United Nations, has decided to exclude participation from tobacco companies in order to “safeguard the integrity and reputation of the United Nations and the values it upholds.”
The UN Global Compact (UNGC) brings together thousands of companies from 170 countries across the globe. It proudly announces that “all types of organisations are welcome to join the movement”, but it seems that there are some industries considered beyond the pale.
Companies profiting from landmines, cluster bombs and nuclear, chemical or biological weapons are already excluded. Now a meeting of the UNGC has concluded that the record of harm caused by the tobacco industry, whose products kill more than 7 million people every year, is such that it must be added to this select group.
Commenting, José Luis Castro, President of the international NCD Alliance (NCDA) said;
"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".
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland said:
"This welcome decision recognises the immense harm spread by tobacco companies internationally in pursuit of their profits. It puts them on a par with those selling antipersonnel landmines, cluster bombs, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
The main business of tobacco companies is in direct conflict with the right to public health, and I welcome the leadership of the UNGC in recognising this and excluding them from participating."
For further information contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
ASH Scotland is the national charity working to reduce the harm and inequality caused by tobacco.
The exclusionary policy statement from the UNGC can be found at https://www.unglobalcompact.org/participation/join/who-should-join and reads:
Organizations that meet the following exclusionary criteria cannot be recognized as participants of the UN Global Compact
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.