Ranked 9 out of 57

Netherlands

Overall Score: 39

Indicators of Influence

These seven key indicators highlight interference from the tobacco industry in the Netherlands.

No. 1

Industry participation in policy development:

Indicator Score:

3 / 20

The tobacco industry is excluded from participation in public health policy development in the Netherlands.

The industry and two government agencies were seated on the Tobacco Committee of the Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) until both government agencies retracted in 2018 in response to the large influence of the tobacco industry in the NEN.

No. 2

Tobacco industry-related CSR activities:

Indicator Score:

1 / 20

There is no evidence anymore of the Dutch government endorsing, supporting, forming partnerships with or participating in so-called CSR activities organized by the tobacco industry in 2018 or 2019. A collaboration between Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to promote clean beaches was finalized in January 2018.

No. 3

Benefits given to the tobacco industry:

Indicator Score:

5 / 20

Except duty-free allowances, the government did not provide benefits, such as delaying implementation of tobacco control policies, to the industry in 2018 or 2019.

No. 4

Unnecessary interaction with the tobacco industry:

Indicator Score:

7 / 20

Dutch Customs and the tobacco industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2011 stating to collaborate in combatting fraud and smuggling of tobacco products. While the government does not attend events organized or sponsored by the tobacco industry, several social events were found where high level public officials and representatives from the tobacco industry were present.

No. 5

Procedure for transparency measures:

Indicator Score:

7 / 20

Interactions between the national government and the tobacco industry are registered in the transparency registry. In 2018-2019, 93 interactions were publicly disclosed between the government and the tobacco industry or other parties that might favor tobacco-friendly policies (e.g. supermarkets). Almost all face-to-face meetings were between customs and the industry. In early 2018, a news website uncovered that one-third of the interactions between the industry and the government was not published in the registry.

No. 6

Avoiding conflicts of interest:

Indicator Score:

7 / 20

There are no laws or regulations in place prohibiting contributions from specific industries or entities, including the tobacco industry, to political parties and/or campaigns. One national level politician had a relative working for the tobacco industry, and one member of a provincial council is also seated in the supervisory board of a tobacco producer. Both are not involved in setting tobacco control or public health policy.

No. 7

Preventive measures:

Indicator Score:

9 / 30

The Dutch government has multiple procedures, protocols and codes of conduct put in place to limit contact and influence with the tobacco industry. No plan or system is in place to systematically raise awareness within the government on Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), although the importance of full implementation of Article 5.3 has been re-communicated by the government to its government officials in 2019.

Recommendations

These are ways the Netherlands can deter interference from the tobacco industry:

  • Reduce and/or limit collaboration between Dutch Customs and the tobacco industry. Multiple face-to-face meetings and digital interactions take place between the parties on a yearly basis. Through collaboration between the two, the tobacco industry might try to influence tobacco control policies, especially taxation policy. In line with WHO FCTC Article 5.3, the MoU should be terminated.
  • Increase registration and/or transparency though implementing a registry for tobacco industry entities, affiliated organizations and individuals acting on their behalf including lobbyists. The Netherlands must also request additional information from tobacco producers, such as revenue and spending on lobbying, and obligate political parties to publish financial contributions by the tobacco industry.

Learn more about tobacco industry interference in this country.

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