A new editorial in the scientific journal Addiction calls for alcohol producers to stop undermining their own Corporate Social Responsibility goals with their sophisticated marketing activities. 

 

The editorial, written by Dr. Adrian Bonner of the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of Kent and Prof. Ian Gilmore, Chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, primarily focuses on the 2010 UK Government’s Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network (RDAN) and the European Forum for Alcohol Health (EAHF) of the European commission. Both initiatives rely heavily on cooperation of the alcohol industry.

For RDAN the UK government had hoped to work together with the drinks industry as well as a number of health groups. However, acknowledging that the initiative does not advance public health objectives, the health groups withdrew from RDAN in 2011. The authors of the editorial argue that social responsibility deals as in RDAN and the EAHF will be ‘significantly undermined unless Corporate Social Responsibility is consistent in all activities across the whole sector.’

In the editorial the authors point out that the RDAN aim to ‘. . . foster a culture of responsible dinking…’, does not stroke with other activities by alcohol producers and advertisers. In fact, the authors claim that the industry is actively moving things in the opposite direction, for example through a multimillion dollar contract between Diageo and Facebook.

The editorial concludes that an effective alcohol policy is required to counterbalance ‘the alcohol-fuelled culture’ promoted by user-generated activity in marketing initiatives such as Smirnoff’s NightLife Exchange. The authors claim that such community based marketing initiatives are more effective than the companies own websites . . .’ Therefore the authors call for Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives to be consistent in ‘all activities across individual organisations and the whole sector.’

Read the full editorial at onlinelibrary.wiley.com

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