Governance: Guidelines for Corporate Relationships
When Lamaze International participates in corporate partnership arrangements, the Lamaze mission and vision statements, the Advertising Standards Policy, and the principles and guidelines outlined in this policy will direct Lamaze International in the formation of the relationship.
These guidelines are organized into the following categories: general principles, corporate relationship guidelines and organizational review process.
These guidelines should be reviewed from at least every three years to assure their continued relevance to the policies and operations of Lamaze and to our business environment.
The following general principles provide guidance for appropriate corporate relationships:
- The Lamaze mission and vision must drive the proposed activity.
The Lamaze mission and vision ultimately must determine whether a proposed corporate relationship is appropriate for Lamaze. The proposed relationship should support the priorities outlined in Lamaze’s strategic plan so that resources are not diverted from priority initiatives.
- The relationship must preserve or promote trust in Lamaze, the profession of perinatal education and normal birth.
A corporate relationship that could undermine the public's trust in Lamaze or the profession, or would undermine support for normal birth is not acceptable. No relationship should raise questions about the evidence-based content of Lamaze International’s educational publications, advocacy on normal birth issues, or the truthfulness of its public statements (i.e., position statements).
- The relationship must maintain Lamaze's objectivity with respect to perinatal education and normal birth issues.
Lamaze will consider a corporate relationship only if acceptance does not pose a conflict of interest and in no way impacts the objectivity of the association, its members, activities, programs or employees, or educational content.
- The activity must provide a benefit to the public, expectant parents or perinatal education practice.
Lamaze will only consider corporate partnerships that provide a benefit to the public, expectant parents or perinatal education practice, such as public education campaigns or programs for perinatal professionals. Corporate-supported programs that provide financial benefits to Lamaze but no significant benefit to the public, expectant parents or perinatal professionals are not acceptable. In the case of member benefits, corporate partnerships must not detract from Lamaze International’s professional goals.
- Any relationship that involves advertising or sponsorship of educational material to be distributed to class members or other students by childbirth educators must be approved by the Lamaze Board of Directors.
Lamaze will only engage in corporate relationships to produce educational materials that are displayed or distributed by childbirth educators with the approval of the Lamaze Board of Directors and adherence to the corporate relationships guidelines outlined below.
Corporate Relationship Guidelines
The formation of corporate relationships must comply with the following guidelines:
- Lamaze International must review and approve all projects and products bearing the Lamaze name, trademarks or logo. Lamaze retains editorial control over informational and educational content produced as part of a corporate relationship.
When a Lamaze program engages in a corporate partnership, Lamaze must remain in control of use of its trademarks, logo, Lamaze related educational content, and must approve all marketing materials to ensure that the message is congruent with Lamaze's mission and vision.
- Corporate relationships must not permit influence by the corporate party on Lamaze.
A corporate relationship must not permit influence by the corporate party on Lamaze policies, priorities, and actions. For example, agreements stipulating access by a corporate party to Lamaze leadership would be prohibited. Additionally, relationships that appear to be acceptable when viewed alone may become unacceptable when viewed in light of other existing or proposed activities.
- Liability risks associated with a corporate relationship must be reviewed and addressed.
The potential liability involved with corporate partnership arrangements must be reviewed and appropriately addressed. Endorsement carries greater liability risk, and Lamaze has made a policy decision that it will not endorse any commercial product or program. In a licensing arrangement, the licensee carries the liability risk, and Lamaze must ensure the corporate partner has adequate coverage.
- Corporate partners must not influence Lamaze program or advocacy activities.
A full and effective separation should exist between Lamaze activities and the influence of corporate partners. Lamaze should not advocate for a particular issue because it has received funding from an interested corporation. Member and public concern would be heightened if it appears that Lamaze's program or advocacy agenda is being influenced by corporate funding.
- The Advertising Standards Policy provides parameters for appropriate type of corporate relationships.
The established Advertising Standards Policy provides guidelines that will be applied when considering a corporate relationship in connection with a particular commercial product or entity. Relationships may not be pursued in connection with a commercial product or entity that is not acceptable for advertising in a Lamaze publication. A corporate relationship with a particular commercial product or entity does not imply endorsement of the corporation.
- All corporate relationships must be accompanied by a written agreement signed by all parties involved.
A written agreement outlining the scope and responsibilities of all parties involved in the corporate relationship will be drafted and signed by all parties. Agreement in advance will help prevent disagreements as the project gets underway.
Organizational Review Process
Every proposal for a Lamaze corporate relationship must be thoroughly screened prior to implementation. All proposed corporate relationships will be reviewed by the Corporate Relationships Task Force, which is composed of the Executive Committee, Education Council Chair, Certification Council Chair, Ad Review Committee Chair and Executive Director. The task force is chaired by the President Elect. The full Board will review any proposal that meets defined criteria for a heightened level of scrutiny.
- The Corporate Relationships Task Force reviews corporate arrangements to ensure consistency with the principles and guidelines.
The Corporate Relationships Task Force is the internal, cross-functional group that is charged with the review of all corporate partnership arrangements to assure adherence to the principles and guidelines. All activities placed on the Corporate Relations Task Force agenda have been reviewed by the Executive Director, and as appropriate by legal counsel.
- The Board of Directors is informed of all corporate relationships and involved in review and approval of any relationships requiring a higher level of scrutiny.
The Board of Directors will routinely be informed of all Lamaze corporate relationships, and will be involved in review and approval of corporate relationship proposals that meet the following criteria:
- Upon request of a dissenting member of the Corporate Relationships Task Force and instances when the members of the review team differ in the disposition of a proposal;
- All corporate projects or programs directed to the consumer;
- All relationships where Lamaze takes on a risk of substantial financial penalties for cancellation; and
- All corporate proposals where the Corporate Relationships Principles and Guidelines or the Ad Standards Policy are unclear or may appear to be inconsistent.
- The Executive Director is responsible for coordinating the review of proposed corporate relationships, managing partnerships consistent with the approved agreement, and reporting to the Board of Directors on all Lamaze corporate arrangements at least annually.
The Executive Director is responsible for obtaining appropriate review and approval for all corporate partnerships. The Executive Director will present a summary report to the Board of Directors at least annually to the board on all corporate relationships.
- Lamaze's Executive Director, in consultation with the Ad Review Task Force and legal counsel as appropriate, will review and approve all marketing materials that are prepared by others for use that bear the Lamaze mark and/or corporate identity.
All marketing materials will be reviewed for appropriate use of Lamaze's logos and trademarks, perception of implied endorsement of the external entity's policies or products, unsubstantiated claims, misleading, exaggerated or false claims, and reference to appropriate documentation when claims are made, and must be in compliance with the established Advertising Standards Policy.
Approved: March 2005
Revised: June 2007, September 2008