Dr Andrew Bremer, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, presented the proposal at the meeting and said McDonald’s has chosen to employ “countless new PR tactics” that create a perception of change while “unreasonably” exposing shareholders to significant risk.
“It is not enough to point to so-called healthier menu items when children are still the target of aggressive marketing of an overwhelming unhealthy brand,” Bremer said.
McDonald’s board of directors recommended a “no” vote on the proposal, calling it “unnecessary and redundant.”
Shareholders heeded that call. The proposal received 6.4 percent of votes in support, up from 5.6 percent a year ago.
Incoming CEO Don Thompson, who said his two children eat at McDonald’s, was forceful in his response to questions from Corporate Accountability representatives.
World’s largest McDonald’s: A big ad for obesity, say British doctors
McDonald’s is a sponsor for the London Olympics - and a British doctors’ group says that’s sending the wrong message in a country with ballooning obesity.
Big Macs, fries and milkshakes will be part of McDonald’s exclusively branded menu at the Olympics and the fast-food giant will soon be opening its largest franchise in the world, a two-story cathedral-like restaurant that seats 1,500 customers, at London’s Olympic Park. McDonald’s will be the only restauranteur allowed to sell brand-name food at the games and there will also be a separate McDonald’s within the athletes’ village — in addition to three others at the Olympic Park.
Alongside McDonald’s, Coca-Cola has the exclusive right to sell non-alcoholic drinks at Olympic venues. Heineken has been named the games’ official beer.
“It’s very sad that an event that celebrates the very best of athletic achievements should be sponsored by companies contributing to the obesity problem and unhealthy habits,” said Terence Stephenson, a spokesman for the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges. The group is calling upon the British government to restrict advertising by McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Heineken during the Olympic Games, which are being held in London from July 27 to Aug.12.
But that’s unlikely to happen. London Olympic organizers have defended their decision to accept McDonald’s sponsorship as a business deal.
“I would never do anything to hurt them or any other children, nor would we as a corporation ... Do me the honor, and our entire organization, of not associating us with doing something that is damaging to children. We have been very responsible,” Thompson said.
McDonald’s stock was down 0.5 percent at $91.03 on Thursday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
By Lisa Baertlein