About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

36 Loy. Consumer L. Rev. 23 (2023)
Healthwashing: Corporate Communication Strategies in a Legal Gray Zone

handle is hein.journals/lyclr36 and id is 31 raw text is: 



                       GRAY ZONE

           Anna  Galmiche, Felix Delerm, Melanie Levy


       In an age of rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases,
transnational companies of the tobacco, alcohol, and food industries
wash their risk-creating commercial activities and unhealthy products
and incidentally mislead consumers. This paper examines industries'
quest for legitimacy through elaborate communication strategies. It
conceptualizes the practice of healthwashing as a new form of a com-
mercial determinant of health, revealing the inherent tension between
commercial  and public health objectives. Healthwashing consists of
deceptive, multi-level communication strategies, including labeling
and advertising, that trick consumers into believing they support com-
panies whose practices align with their values. The paper is the first to
present an original definition of healthwashing, establishing three dif-
ferent levels. Healthwashing occurs when health is used as a selling
argument by implying benefits or unharmful effects of a product when
the reality is different, when health is instrumentalized to a corpora-
tion's advantage, or when consumers are influenced to adopt a lifestyle
with unhealthy products. Healthwashing aims to maintain a brand im-
age or sales and divert consumers' attention from the company's con-
troversial products or poor practices. Finally, the paper critically ex-
amines  the  challenges of tackling corporations' healthwashing
practices through existing legal tools to protect public health. Corpo-
rations design these tools mainly to steer consumer behavior through
sin taxes, advertisement restrictions, or labeling requirements for un-
healthy products. Through a case study of consumer protection laws,
the paper reflects on the current mismatch between the traditional un-
derstanding of corporations' behavior and a much messier reality in
which corporations gloss over or outshine their activities and products
to adhere to the expectations of a socially responsible corporation. The


What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most