Diageo-Stop-Out-of-Control-DrinkingTwo of Dublin City University’s (DCU) leading academics have criticized the much debated Diageo-funded 'Stop Out-of-Control Drinking' campaign. This while DCU formally backs the campaign and has previously also received money from the drinks giant. ‘Stop Out-of-Control Drinking’ is a national Irish campaign that is being funded for €1m by Diageo. Originally the drinks giant was represented on the campaign board, but under external pressure over a perceived lack of independence due to the company's involvement David Smith, the head of Diageo Ireland, stepped down last month. After another four high-profile resignations from the board in recent weeks, DCU president Professor Brian MacCraith continues to sit on the campaign board. Additionally, DCU is named alongside Diageo on the list of the campaign's supporting partners. However, Professor Anthony Staines, the chair of the Health Systems program in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences in the Dublin university, said he personally believes the Diageo links to the campaign are a "conflict of interest" which "cannot really be managed". While Dr. Staines does under scribe the need for action against drinking, he states that "the Diageo link [to the campaign] is a problem."
"There is a general piece of advice in the public health community that you don't take tobacco control money from cigarette companies. You don't take alcohol control money from drinks companies," according to Dr. Staines.
Professor Niall Moyna, from DCU's School of Health and Human Performance and a member of the Centre for Preventive Medicine, also sees the Irish problem of over-indulgence in alcohol and the need to do something about it, but says: "Is Diageo the ideal company to be funding it? Probably not." According to the Independent, DCU also has other links with the drinks company. A spokesperson for the university confirmed Diageo had pledged €20,000 in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for their Access scholarship program. Additionally DCU Business School lecturer Tony Foley produces reports for the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland on a "consultancy basis". One of these reports - 'The Contribution of the Drinks Industry to Tourism' - was launched last August at a debate which was facilitated by another DCU lecturer. The Independent writes that Professor Brian MacCraith was "not available to comment on this matter". Stop Out-of-Control Drinking, which is led by children's charity boss Fergus Finlay, has been embroiled in controversy since its inception in February. For more on this story, please read ‘Debate about industry sponsored anti-alcohol campaign flares up in Ireland.’ Source: the Independent 04/18/15

Author: Sungwon Yoon & Tai-Hing Lam Title: The illusion of righteousness: corporate social responsibility practices of the alcohol industry Journal: BMC Public Health 2013, 13:630 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-630

 

AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Background: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral element of how the alcohol industry promotes itself. The existing analyses of CSR in the alcohol industry point to the misleading nature of these CSR practices. Yet, research has been relatively sparse on how the alcohol industry advances CSR in an attempt to facilitate underlying business interests, and in what ways the ongoing display of industry CSR impacts public health. This paper aims to investigate the alcohol industry’s recent CSR engagements and explain how CSR forms part of the industry’s wider political and corporate strategies. Methods: Our study used qualitative methods to collect and analyse data. We searched for materials pertaining to CSR activities from websites of three transnational alcohol corporations, social media platforms, media reports and other sources. Relevant documents were thematically analysed with an iterative approach. Results: Our analysis identified three CSR tactics employed by the alcohol companies which are closely tied in with the industry’s underlying corporate intents. First, the alcohol manufacturers employ CSR as a means to frame issues, define problems and guide policy debates. In doing this, the alcohol companies are able to deflect and shift the blame from those who manufacture and promote alcoholic products to those who consume them. Second, the alcohol corporations promote CSR initiatives on voluntary regulation in order to delay and offset alcohol control legislation. Third, the alcohol corporations undertake philanthropic sponsorships as a means of indirect brand marketing as well as gaining preferential access to emerging alcohol markets. Conclusions: The increasing penetration and involvement of the alcohol industry into CSR highlights the urgent needs for public health counter actions. Implementation of any alcohol control measures should include banning or restricting the publicity efforts of the industry’s CSR and informing the public of the alcohol industry’s notion of social responsibility. More significantly, an internationally binding instrument should be called for to enable countries to differentiate between genuine concerns and spurious altruism, and in doing so, resist the industry’s attempt to erode alcohol control.

corporate social responsability With tightening regulations on alcohol marketing, alcohol producers develop new initiatives to make customers aware of their brands and products. One such recent development is the use of Corporate Social Responsibility to build on the image of the companies. This boiles down to alcohol producers claiming to take responsibility in informing customers about responsible drinking behaviour through the use of education. A challanging new development that takes with it certain dangers that are discussed in this report.

The full report can be downloaded and read here