“There has been a lot of conversation in the media and on social media channels, about ADSA’s sponsorship policy. This will probably be an ongoing conversation, but I would like to take this opportunity to share how we manage sponsorships.”
I think it is important to talk about sponsorships for not-for-profit associations and am glad that consumers are asking important questions. I would like to give you a better understanding of how exactly sponsorship works for ADSA and also how it works when dietitians consult to food or pharmaceutical companies.
ADSA is an NGO and all the dietitians that work for ADSA do so on a voluntary basis and do not get paid for the work that they do to serve the dietetics profession and the public by informing them on nutrition related matters. Various companies sponsor ADSA and all the funds that we collect through sponsorship are pooled. This money is mostly used for administration costs associated with the day-to-day running of the association. ADSA currently receives 34% of its funds from sponsors and the remaining 66% from the members. Any nutrition-related content that is disseminated by ADSA is evidence based and ADSA is not allowed to endorse any food product.
We have previously been asked if we are influenced by ‘big food’, but because we follow a rigorous process when it comes to sponsorship, evidence-based information and never endorse product we can confidently say that we are not influenced by ‘big food’. Sponsors should never be allowed to dictate an organisation’s messaging and content, especially in the health sector where all information should be evidence based and ‘first do no harm’.
When it comes to dietitians in their capacity outside ADSA, they have to abide by certain ethical rules, practice evidence based nutrition therapy, provide full disclosures of conflicts of interest and are not allowed to endorse products. These are all part of the ethical rules compiled by the HPCSA.
Many people are asking ‘How does sponsorships affect a dietitian’s credibility?” If a dietitian is for example sponsored by the dairy association to do research on the milk intake in teenagers and their level of calcium then that dietitian should state that she was sponsored, but still follow the ethical rules of the profession and therefore produce factually correct information based on the results of the study and nothing more. Therefore a dietitian’s credibility will not be impacted by the latter considering that the ethical guidelines are always in place.
Current ADSA sponsors include:
Sea Harvest, EquiSweet, Kellogg’s, Pick n Pay, DSM, Woolworths, Nativa, Unilever, Parmalat, Pronutro, Health Connection
If you have any questions please send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
ADSA Sponsorship Policy February 2015
All potential ADSA sponsors are to be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with ADSA’s evidence-based approach to nutrition.
ADSA adheres to and enforces the following principles in its relationships with sponsors:
- Scientific Accuracy
All sponsor materials, presentations and information shared with members are internally reviewed for scientific accuracy, adherence with ADSA’s positions and policies and for appropriateness for ADSA members. This review is done by the ADSA Executive Committee Sponsorship Portfolio holder and by the ADSA President.
ADSA does not endorse any brand, company product or service.
- ADSA’s programs, leadership, decisions, policies and positions are not influenced by sponsors.
- ADSA’s procedures and formal agreements with external organizations are designed to prevent any undue corporate influence.
General Requirements for Acceptance of ADSA Sponsors:
- Fit with ADSA strategic goals
- Scientific accuracy
- Conformance with ADSA positions, policies and philosophies
- ADSA has editorial control of all content in materials bearing the ADSA name
- Clear separation of ADSA messages and content from brand information or promotion
- No endorsement by ADSA of any particular brand or company product
- The inclusion of relevant facts and important information where their omission would present an unbalanced view of a controversial issue in which the sponsor has a stake
- Sponsorship enables ADSA—as it does for most non-profit organizations and associations across the country —to build awareness of ADSA and our members, and to share science-based information and new research with our members. ADSA is not influenced by our corporate sponsors, nor does ADSA endorse any of the sponsors’ products or services.
- ADSA communication and messages are based on evidence-based reviews of the latest and most authoritative science.
- ADSA builds and maintains its reputation by scrupulous attention to facts, science and honesty. It is at the discretion of ADSA whether to take on a sponsor. ADSA reserves the right to remove a sponsor at any given time at the discretion at the ADSA Executive Committee
- All communication sent out to ADSA members by sponsors must be evidence-based. The ADSA Executive Portfolio Holder and ADSA President review all communication sent out by sponsors to ADSA members.
- ADSA reserves the right to ask for substantiation of any claims made by sponsors’ products. Any products that are unable to substantiate their nutrition or health claims will not be communicated
- Any form of endorsement by ADSA is prohibited
- Sponsors are not allowed to have the ADSA logo on their communication to the public or on any promotional material. Similarly, sponsors are prohibited from publicising that they are an ADSA sponsor on the said communication.
- National sponsorship does not include interest group sponsorship and vice versa. The same criteria used to assess national sponsorship will be applied to interest group sponsorship
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