Table 1

Standards for NGO transparency and independence versus FSFW practices

PrincipleExample language/sourceFSFW
Transparency and accountability‘Nonprofits should regularly and openly convey information to the public about their mission, activities, finances, accomplishments and decision-making processes.’55 Board minutes, mission, activities posted on website at irregular intervals. No financial reports posted; funding privately negotiated with tobacco company prior to Foundation establishment; no documentation of those decisions or arrangements available.
Independence‘Its [the organization’s] policies, vision, and activities shall not be determined by any for-profit corporation, donor, government, government official, political party, or other NGO.’16 Pledge agreement states that PMI funding is contingent.37 38
‘Those who are part of the NGO’s governing body [generally the board of directors] are to serve in a voluntary capacity, for no pay.’16 Board members are paid $50 000/year, more for the chair position.19
‘The governing body shall hire the chief executive officer, undertaking a careful search process to find the most qualified individual.’16 FSFW president, who was paid by PMI to privately negotiate the Foundation plan and funding,41 appointed the initial board members.27 President/CEO was self-designated, benefits financially from PMI agreement; no open search conducted.
Independence requires ‘A revenue mix that provides a degree of security through a range of income sources, with no over-dependence on any single source of funding.’56 PMI is sole source of funding for FSFW.
‘Board members should be selected through transparent processes set out in publicly available policies, have defined terms of office, receive no remuneration beyond reimbursement of expenses and should not profit from the organisation’s assets. There should also be conflict of interest provisions for Board members in place.’17 Selection of initial board members non-transparent and done by president.27
Board members paid beyond reimbursement.19
Conflict of interest provisions are in place but entirely waivable. No hard rule against tobacco industry ties.22
‘Board functions should be clearly separated from management, and the CEO should not have a voting role on the Board.’17 President/CEO appears to have a voting role on the board and chaired several board meetings, according to minutes.23 24 57
  • CEO, chief executive officer; FSFW, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World; NGO, non-governmental organisation; PMI, Philip Morris International.