WPHNA Conflict of Interest and Ethics Policy


This document is a statement of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Policy of the World Public Health Nutrition Association (WPHNA/the Association/we) which relates to the World Public Health Nutrition Congress 2020 in Brisbane, Australia, 31 March to 2 April 2020.


The purpose of the WPHNA is to bring together people with a common interest in promoting and improving public health nutrition and to be a professional voice for public health nutrition internationally.  In our work we take a human rights approach. We strive to manage and eliminate conflicts of interest and expect high ethical standards of our members and our partners. 


The aim of the Association at its 2020 Brisbane Congress is to explore knowledge, policies and actions in the UN Decade of Nutrition 2016-2025, to identify what is working, where the gaps are and what efforts need to be pursued to achieve our goals.

We recognise individuals and organizations have relationships with organizations that might have competing interests with our aims and objectives.  We need to ensure our Congress activities; discussions and outcomes are free of conflict of interest and commercial interference.  To do so, the Congress will follow the Association’s policy, principles and actions regarding engagement with the private sector.  We believe it is fundamental to protect the independence, integrity and principles of the Association throughout the event.


For this policy, Conflict of Interest is defined as “a set of conditions in which professional judgement concerning a primary interest (such as a person or community’s welfare or the validity of research) may be unduly influenced by a secondary interest (such as financial gain)”.[1] This focuses attention on conflicts that can impede the performance of core professional roles and obligations, such as those of public health professionals to advance the interests of their clients or of health researchers to advance health-related knowledge, policy and practice.


WPHNA abides by UN human rights covenants especially the right to health, to food and to education for all, and especially women, children, minorities, people with special abilities, as well as the rights of nature.  Therefore, WPHNA is not funded, sponsored, supported or influenced by corporations, companies, or related organizations whose products, practices or policies are harmful to public health or people’s nutritional status.  This relates to our commitment to the right to health for all people.  

WPHNA will not be influenced by any organizations in opposition to its aims and objectives.  Sponsorship from international agencies, national, regional and municipal governments, professional and civil society organisations, and other public and/or independent entities, will be welcomed when they do not conflict with the aims and objectives of public health nutrition as set out here.

WPHNA will not engage with any organization whose practices include the advertising and marketing of products that have negative public health and nutrition effects.  This includes stimulating unhealthy ways of eating or drinking, such as overeating, or lobbying against legislative, economic, judicial or sociocultural measures that aim at reducing the production, supply, availability of or demand for these unhealthy products.

The position for our Brisbane Congress about Conflict of Interest and commercial interference is summarized in the following points:

  1. The Congress will not engage with industries that produce, promote or in other ways commercialize products that are harmful to public health or people’s nutritional status, and will not accept funding or sponsorships or any other financial arrangements or gifts from these industries. 

  2. The Congress will promote WPHNA´s integrity and good reputation thus strengthening and preserving   trust in WPHNA work to protect and improve nutrition, health and well-being worldwide. 


The Congress will foster and promote the work of non-conflicted professionals and non-commercial organizations and social movements with similar commitments in various areas of public health, nutrition, agriculture, and other activities that support the quality and sustainability of food systems, dietary patterns and personal diets.

For Speakers

  1. All potential speakers will disclose and declare any Conflict of Interest before they are accepted to participate in the Congress.  WPHNA will not accept potential speakers who have strong ties or alliances with any organization conceived, founded, funded, led, controlled or organized by corporations or companies whose products, practices or policies conflict with WPHNA´s aims and objectives as set out here. 

  2. Before presenting, all speakers will be required to declare their affiliation and provide a statement of “no conflict of interest” in relation to the conference aim and objectives and in relation to their current research and/or topic to be presented at the conference.

For Sponsors and Exhibitors

  1. The Congress will apply due diligence to any interested party exhibiting, sponsoring or funding any activity for and at the event, considering the principles and criteria mentioned before.

  2. Each potential exhibitor, donor or sponsor initiative/proposal will be reviewed by the WPHNA Committee on Conflict of Interest for its approval before acceptance by the Congress Organizing Committee.  A list of the accepted donors and sponsors will be publicly available.

  3. The congress will abstain from receiving any sponsorship or funding from conflicted entities including but not limited to: 


  • The arms, tobacco and alcohol industries

  • Industries producing or promoting soft drinks and drinks with added sugar.

  • Industries producing or promoting ultra-processed food products and ultra-processed drinks. 

  • Industries producing or promoting infant formula, pacifiers, baby bottles, or follow on 'milks'.

  • Industries producing pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or any other product directly or indirectly detrimental to food systems and their impact on public health, nutrition and human rights;

  • Organisations with policies, objectives, principles, vision, mission or goals that include or relate to an increase in the production, supply, availability, promotion and demand of unhealthy food and drink products

A copy of the WPHNA Conflict of Interest and Ethics Policy can be downloaded below.

[1] Adapted from: Thompson, D. F. (1993). "Understanding financial conflicts of interest." N Engl J Med 329(8): 573