The Case For Health Footprint Labels

Here are some potential benefits of global health footprint labels:

Incentives for good

Labeling makes company conduct more transparent. It helps potential investors, consumers, workers, and regulators decide accordingly whether to give the company “prizes” like continued investment in that company, or “penalties” like a consumer boycott. That boosts companies’ incentives to treat health well. Since companies have so much impact on our health, even a small boost may make a big difference.

An intervention for good that’s not that expensive

Compared to other ways to boost population health, such as starting many clinics or trying to mobilize politicians to alter (inter-) national guidelines, labeling costs less.

An intervention for good that can start at the grassroots

Compared to trying to mobilize busy, lazy, or conflicted law makers and politicians to alter national and international laws, regulations, and guidelines, labeling is something that ordinary people working together can do.

An intervention for good with potentially rapid results

Compared to trying to take companies to court, which can drag for decades, impact on their bottom line can make companies change course fast

How are health footprint labels different from corporate social responsibility?

Health footprint labels facilitate CSR by aligning more “prizes” and “penalties” behind the right corporate behavior. That makes the right behavior more advantageous for companies. As a result, maximizing shareholder profit will more often go hand in hand with promoting health.