In December 2013, Harvard University held an cross-school conference on voluntary standards in global health. The conference brought together leaders and experts in ethics, global health, business, law, psychology, and quality and safety certification to explore a fundamental issue: Every company impacts human health in some way. What if its “global health footprint” were evaluated and labeled? What if we tracked different companies’ effect on health, so as to strengthen companies’ incentives to treat health, including the health of the world’s poorest and sickest populations, with greater care? Participants explored together how we could make global health impact labeling affordable, rigorous, reliable, sensitive to community needs, and user-friendly.
The conference was co-sponsored by the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School (currently the HMS Center for Bioethics); the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law, Biotechnology, and Bioethics; the Harvard Global Health Institute; the Harvard University Program in Ethics and Health; and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.