The EU Pledge is a voluntary initiative by leading food and beverage companies to change food and beverage advertising to children under the age of thirteen in the European Union. It consists of three main commitments:
- No advertising for food and beverage products to children under the age of thirteen on TV, print and internet, except for products which fulfil common nutritional criteria.
- No communication related to products in primary schools, except where specifically requested by, or agreed with, the school administration for educational purposes.
- To abide by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice; and the ICC Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications in all marketing communications.
These are minimum common standards that enable joint monitoring and accountability. Individual companies can apply corporate standards that go above and beyond these common rules.
The EU Pledge was launched in December 2007 as part of signatories’ commitment to the European Union Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, the multi-stakeholder forum set up by former EU Health and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Markos Kyprianou in 2005 to encourage stakeholders to take initiatives aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in Europe.
In July 2021, EU Pledge was submitted to the European Commission’s Code of Conduct on Responsible Business and Marketing Practices to work towards the Code’s objectives and targets, notably the Code’s indicative action to “apply responsible food marketing and advertising practices, e.g. by adhering to self- and co-regulatory initiatives and standards”
In the context of the EU’s Code of Conduct, the EU Pledge commitment is owned by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), which also supports the programme.
EU Pledge member companies represent over 80% of food and beverage advertising expenditure in the EU. The initiative is open to any food and beverage company active in Europe and willing to subscribe to the EU Pledge commitments.