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Corporate Philanthropy, Political Influence and Health Policy

The Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides a basis for nation states to limit the political effects of tobacco industry philanthropy, yet progress in this area is limited. This paper aims to integrate the findings of previous studies on tobacco industry philanthropy with a new analysis of British American Tobacco's (BAT) record of charitable giving to develop a general model of corporate political philanthropy that can be used to facilitate implementation of the FCTC. Orginally published in PLOS one - A Peer Reviewed Open Access Journal and made available on the NCBI website. Gary J. Fooks* and Anna B. Gilmore Natalie Walker, Editor


Method

Analysis of previously confidential industry documents, BAT social and stakeholder dialogue reports, and existing tobacco industry document studies on philanthropy.


Results

The analysis identified six broad ways in which tobacco companies have used philanthropy politically: developing constituencies to build support for policy positions and generate third party advocacy; weakening opposing political constituencies; facilitating access and building relationships with policymakers; creating direct leverage with policymakers by providing financial subsidies to specific projects; enhancing the donor's status as a source of credible information; and shaping the tobacco control agenda by shifting thinking on the importance of regulating the market environment for tobacco and the relative risks of smoking for population health. Contemporary BAT social and stakeholder reports contain numerous examples of charitable donations that are likely to be designed to shape the tobacco control agenda, secure access and build constituencies. Read more...