These tentative ideas are here to inspire. If you think you have the resources to start a health footprint label, please help yourself to one! If you have labeling ideas of your own, scroll down.
A Corporate-Giving Label
Which companies give the most in financial and in-kind donations, to the best health causes? This health footprint label would use companies’ financial reports and answers to questionnaires to check how much (relative to company profits) was given to charities ranked high by great charity navigators like GiveWell or is otherwise likely to translate to interventions ranked high for cost-effectiveness.
- A Food For Global Health Label
Which food manufacturers are best for global health? Whose food is low both in sodium and in saturated and trans fat, where the competition fails? Whose food warnings and instructions are consistently helpful, translated into local languages, and comprehensive, even in countries where regulations are weak (for example, they advise not to take baby formula without boiling polluted water)? Who is lobbying for not against healthy food regulations? Whose food production keeps employees safe? This health footprint label would go beyond Fooducate’s concern for the consumer’s health, to promote everyone’s health.
- A Worker Safety Label
Which companies meet International Labor Organization recommendations on safe workplace noise levels, as shown by their fulfillment of International Organization for Standardization benchmarks? Which provide work environments that are safe otherwise? Which do not?
- A Locals-Friendly Medical Tourism Label
Some medical tourism service providers in India, Thailand, and other countries with critical health worker shortages “poach” many health workers from the understaffed public and rural sectors. Which ones do? Which, furthermore, violate local regulations requiring private hospitals to reserve a significant percent of beds to the local poor in return for privileges received? And which instead respect and promote local public health, for example, by paying their workers for many shifts in underserved settings? Which middlemen, private, and national insurers and self-insured companies work with which providers? Tourist hospital accreditors like JCI could assess that, or others may pick up their slack.
A Decent International Surrogacy Label
Recent efforts to regulate India’s market in surrogacy services following well-publicized scandals yielded only weak regulations. Global competition is too steep for the country to risk this multi-billion dollar market. Neither surrogates nor potential parents have rich advance knowledge about surrogates’ health protection following accidents, or about surrogates' legal representation, freedom of movement during pregnancy, and fair payments. A health footprint label that rigorously checked on these matters and ranked service providers by their decency might attract hopeful parents who want to give their child an ethical start in life.
- A No-Blood-For-Oil Label
The natural gas and oil production sector is notorious for frequent bad impact on health (and on the environment and human rights in general). But oil companies rarely suffer consequences. One reason is that good alternatives to bad oil companies are hard to come by. Another is that oil is a raw material whose unhealthy extraction is tricky to hold non-oil companies responsible for, even when they knowingly buy blood oil. This health footprint label would certify non-oil companies for buying oil only from oil companies that are good for health.
- A Freedom From Unhealthy Lobbying Label
By lobbying against health promoting regulations, and for detrimental government action, companies can do damage to health behind the scenes. Which companies are particularly bad, and which are better?
A Non-Hypocrisy Label
Some companies operate very differently in countries with strong legal systems and elsewhere. Tobacco producers, for example, have dropped bad past practices in the US following the big tobacco trials, and now pretend to be on the side of protection from smoking; but they pursue those same practices in developing countries. Which companies are hypocritical, and which are globally-consistent?
Can you think of others?
If so, develop them carefully, edit to the style above, and email them to us. Let us know how we should name you. Periodically we will select some of the best ideas and post a brief description. Read other people's ideas of global health footprint labels.