I'm delighted to see that Corporate Responsibility Magazine, which must surely be one of the newsstand's hottest reads, has named Weight Watchers on its inaugural list of worst companies. The mag defines "worst" as being secretive in activities and practises such as employee benefits, climate-change policies or philanthropic efforts.
Companies were scored on financial, governance and human rights variables. Dirk Olin, editor in chief of the magazine, told the New York Times: "We decided to ask ourselves what the bottom of that list would look like, never dreaming for a minute that we would uncover a full 30 corporations where no relevant data at all could be turned up. The notion of transparency as the first, best, primary value allows other players, players with a variety of values – be they journalistic, NGOs, competitors, collaborators – to weigh in according to their competing interests."
Weight Watchers declined to comment.
This data might be worth quoting at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, who are currently soliciting material in 'Preventing obesity: a whole-system approach: call for evidence.' They want to hear about 'partnership working' between the NHS and local businesses. This is how Weight Watchers and Slimming World are developing markets within statutory service provision and legitimising their business interests as neutral, caring, for the common good. It stinks. Why not write to NICE and tell them so? The deadline for responses is 29 April 2010.