PhD defence

A Janus-faced food industry? Ethical reflections on corporate responsibility for health

PhD candidate TH (Tjidde) Tempels MSc MA
Promotor prof.dr. MF (Marcel) Verweij
Co-promotor dr. V (Vincent) Blok
Organisation Wageningen University, Philosophy, Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Wed 13 November 2019 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
6703 BG Wageningen


Libraries filled with diet books. Workshops on mindful eating. The message is clear: you are responsible for what you eat. Yet, at the same time our supermarkets are filled with irresistible unhealthy products. Responsibility for health is often framed in terms of individual responsibility and governmental responsibility, but corporate responsibility for health is hardly ever addressed. This is remarkable as many food firms (in)directly contribute to the global obesity epidemic through the development and marketing of unhealthy products. In my research I show that there are various moral grounds on the basis of which we can argue that corporate actors in the food and beverage industry have a responsibility for public health, and that they should do more to enable consumers to eat healthy. In practice this not only means that firms should correctly inform consumers about the nutritional value of their products and that they should stop manipulative marketing. They should also focus on healthy product innovation and pro-health marketing. A healthy society is a shared moral responsibility in which citizens, governments and the food and beverage industry have an important part to play.