Financial Code of Ethics

This policy applies to all LLL entities and Leaders, including LLLI, when seeking sources of funding. This policy does not supplant any possible legal requirements in any given country. This policy is a minimum requirement for all LLL entities.

LLLI fully supports the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Relevant WHA Resolutions subsequently issued (referred to all together in this document as the ‘International Code’). All funding sources must be consistent with the obligations of La Leche League’s commitment to abide by the International Code.

1. Funding sources

LLLI, LLL entities, and LLL representatives may seek a diverse range of funding from:

  • memberships
  • individual donations/contributions
  • cost sharing contributions
  • grants from acceptable charitable foundations, governments or public agencies
  • appropriate commercial sources (see below)

2. Compliance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastfeeding Substitutes and Subsequent WHA Resolutions.

  • To protect the LLL reputation and credibility in support of breastfeeding and maintain sufficient autonomy and independence from non-LLL influences in order to work within the purpose, mission, and philosophy of LLL, all funding sources will support or be consistent with the obligations of La Leche League’s commitment to abide by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant WHA resolutions subsequently issued (referred to all together in this document as the ‘International Code’).
  • LLLI and LLL entities do not enter into sponsorship or endorsement or licensing agreements with any corporation that violates the International Code nor do they accept advertisements or exhibits from such corporations. The term ‘corporation’ includes subsidiaries and parent companies of known International Code violators. New contracts will specify that breaches of this provision that occur or become apparent during the term of the contract will result in the contract being terminated.
  • Written agreements and contracts governing sponsorship will include the stipulation that for the duration of the contract the external party is and will remain compliant with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant WHA resolutions (International Code) pertinent to the International Code.
  • When considering an advertisement or exhibit, corporate sponsorship, endorsement, or licensed product agreement for any product, cause or service covered by the International Code [link] or related to the LLL mission or philosophy statements; the contracting Leader(s) will consult with the entity administration and the entity’s own Code Committee or the LLLI International Code and Conflicts of Interest Committee.
  • Before choosing a funding source, LLL representatives will research its products and ownership structure, using our international networks and any relevant publications in print and on the World Wide Web. If they have any questions about a particular company, Leaders, LLL entities, and LLLI Board and staff will submit requests to review proposed funding sources to their entity’s Code Committee for review or to the International Code and Conflicts of Interest Committee in order to assure that all possible Code issues or conflicts of interest have been carefully examined.

Leaders and employees working on funding issues support each other by sharing information and will be mutually affirming and accountable world-wide.

3. Donations/contributions

LLLI and LLL entities will respect legal requirements governing donations in their locality.

Within the terms described above, LLLI and LLL entities may accept donations/contributions from individuals and from commercial sources and retain the option to decline a donation.

Reasons for declining a donation may include

  • possible loss of not-for-profit status;
  • administrative cost or difficulty
  • other unacceptable consequences for LLLI or the LLL entity.

LLLI or the LLL entity will decide how to acknowledge a donation.

4. Contracts with external parties

Leaders and entities are welcome to develop business relationships with external parties that benefit both LLL and the other party, as long as all of the stipulations of this policy are met.

Advertisements and Exhibits

LLLI and LLL publications and events may include advertisements and/or exhibits.

The following will not be advertised nor exhibited:

  • any product that has been documented as harmful to the breastfed baby, nursing parent, and/or nursing relationship
  • any product that could undermine breastfeeding;
  • any product incompatible with LLL purpose or philosophy (see LLL Philosophy
  • any recalled product

All advertisements and/or exhibits will be covered by a written, legal contract that protects LLLI or the LLL entity from liability.

  • Acceptance of advertisements and/or an exhibit arrangement does not constitute an endorsement. Statements to this effect will be made in publications and in event and exhibition programs. All contracts will include a summary of relevant Finance policies.
Contractual Relationships with Commercial Companies

When considering a relationship with a commercial company, the contracting Leader will keep in mind that any relationship lends La Leche League’s credibility to the company, and that even a donation in kind is a trade – the gift for advertising exposure for the company. Factors to keep in mind include:

  • advertising is a relationship and needs to be governed by a contract
  • written contracts should contain
    • time limits
    • early termination provisions
    • termination for cause provisions
      • if the other party engages in conduct that (in the opinion of the LLL entity or the International Code and Conflicts of Interest Committee) violates the International Code
      • if the company is purchased by a group that violates the International Code
      • if the product is recalled

5.Sponsorships or endorsements by, or licensed product agreements with a commercial company for LLLI, DCEs, or other units of LLL.

Corporate sponsorships, endorsements, and licensed product agreements are relationships of mutual benefit to LLLI and the other person or organization, where the name and/or logo of a company might appear with the name and/or logo of LLLI. This includes the LLLI logo incorporated into the logo of an LLL entity.

Corporate sponsorships, endorsements, and licensed product agreements will be in writing and include (but not be limited to) clauses enabling LLLI or the relevant LLL entity to end the relationship should any violations of the International Code or other conflicts of interest arise. These clauses will specify end points at agreed-upon intervals and provide for termination of the contract if changes occur in the company that may undermine breastfeeding as defined by LLLI. See LLL Logo and Name Protection.

6. Endorsements, Sponsorships, and Licensed Product Agreements.

The La Leche League International Board of Directors has the sole and exclusive authority to permit any act that expresses or implies sponsorship, endorsement, authorization, or approval by LLLI of any person, service, or item. Contracts of expressed or implied LLLI endorsements or sponsorships are to be negotiated and signed by the Board Chair/co-Chairs or designee and the LLLI Executive Director.

Entities wishing to accept an endorsement or establish a licensed product agreement that grants the external party the right to use any of the LLLI trademarks or combined marks must submit the “Authorization for an Endorsement or Licensed Product Agreement” form to the LLLI Executive Director before entering into negotiations with the external party. [Link to form that can be submitted through the Website to the Executive Director]

The Executive Director, in consultation with the LLLI Board and Code and Conflicts Committee as necessary, will approve or disapprove the endorsement or agreement within seven business days of receiving the authorization form. If the proposed collaboration is approved, the Executive Director will send the entity a letter granting them the right to enter into negotiations for use of the LLLI trademarks or combined marks, as the entity sees fit, within the parameters for use of the trademarks set forth in the PSR and DCE Agreements. For the purposes of record keeping, the final contract with the external body will be shared with the LLLI Executive Director within seven business days of being signed.

If the endorsement or licensed product agreement is not approved, the ED will contact the entity to explain why and, if the entity still wishes to pursue the collaboration, advise the entity on what conditions must be met for the collaboration to be approved.

(Oct 06, rev Nov 12, March 15, Oct 20)