Global health: holding industries accountable

A third of global deaths can be linked to a combination of climate change, the non-communicable disease epidemic, and just four industry sectors: tobacco, ultra-processed food, fossil fuel, and alcohol.

Professor Sharon Friel joins hosts Sharon Bessell and Arnagretta Hunter for a challenging conversation about the commercial determinants of health, and what can practicably be done to save and improve lives.

We discuss how there is no silver bullet fix, and it would take a multilevel and multi-pronged approach to commercial determinants of health but if it is done right, it could save a third of preventable global deaths. However, the implications are far more wide-reaching than that. If we take into consideration the indirect impact that industries have, from health and health inequities, income inequalities and changes to our lived environment, “well above half of the global burden of disease could be eliminated” Professor Friel states. The challenge is enforcing change across unregulated industries, and on transnational corporations. “The most basic public health question is not whether the world has the resources or will to take such actions, but whether humanity can survive if society fails to make this effort.”

Sharon Friel is a Professor of Health Equity and an ARC Laureate Fellow in Planetary Health Equity at the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance.

Sharon Bessell is Professor of Public Policy and Director of both the Children’s Policy Centre and the Poverty and Inequality Research Centre at ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

Arnagretta Hunter is the Human Futures Fellow at ANU College of Health and Medicine, a cardiologist, physician, and a Senior Clinical Lecturer at ANU Medical School.

Find full show notes, including articles mentioned in this episode, can be found at

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