Giving Compass' Take:

• Finding common ground between health advocates and the food and beverage industries can save lives, prevent chronic disease across the nation and improve how we eat. Warning labels might be such a way. 

• How can donors and policymakers help further push incentives for creating warning labels and a better public policy? 

• Here's how Denmark is using food labels to help their carbon footprint. 

In the late 1990s, Public Health Advocates, a nonprofit organization that promotes health equity, began working to remove soda and junk food from California schools. The food and beverage industries fought these reforms, as schools had become ground zero for building brand loyalty. Yet studies confirmed an out-of-control childhood obesity epidemic, with schools becoming soda-and-junk-food superstores. This data, along with support from parents and other stakeholders, led to growth in support for public policy reforms. After long and contentious policy battles, California enacted statewide legislation in 2001, 2003, and 2005 to remove soda and junk food from schools. Over the next five years, more than 20 states followed California’s lead with similar legislation.

The tide had turned. In partnership with the Clinton Foundation, the three largest soda producers agreed to remove sugary drinks from schools. They bought national ads to celebrate their decision and eventually came to see that protecting the health of children not only was politically expedient but also made good business sense. Twenty years later, these once highly controversial policies are now mainstream.

Read the full article about market forces could improve how we eat by Harold Goldstein at Stanford Social Innovation Review.