Authors: Daniela Pantani, Raquel Peltzer, Mariana Cremonte, Katherine Robaina, Thomas Babor and Ilana Pinsky Title: The marketing potential of corporate social responsibilityactivities: the case of the alcohol industry in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean Journal: Addiction, 10 January 2017, DOI: 10.1111/add.13616OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Aims: The aims were to: (1) identify, monitor and analyse the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices of the alcohol industry in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and (2) examine whether the alcohol industry is using these actions to market their products and brands. Methods: Nine health experts from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay conductea content analysis of 218 CSR activities using a standardized protocol. A content rating procedure was used to evaluate the marketing potential of CSR activities as well as their probable population reach and effectiveness. The LEAD procedur(longitudinal, expert and all data) was applied to verify the accuracy of industry-reported descriptions. Results: A total of 55.8% of the actions were found to have a marketing potential, based on evidence that they are likely to promote brandand products. Actions with marketing potential were more likely to reach a larger audience than actions classied with no marketing potential. Most actions did not t into any category recommended by the World Health Organization; 50% of the actions involving classroom and college education for young people were found to have marketing potential; 62.3were classied as meeting the denition of risk management CSR. Conclusion: Alcohol industry Corporate Social Responsibility activities in Latin America and the Caribbean appear to have a strategic marketing role beyond their stated philanthropic and public health purpose The article (full text) can be downloaded via this link in the Wiley Online Library.

In recent years the Dutch government gave  a € 6.6 million grant to Heineken for so-called development aid in Africa. Prime Minister Rutte praised Heineken in September 2015 during a speech to the UN, because of the purchase of beer barley from local farmers in Africa.

Research journalists of the Dutch television-program Zembla studied the impact of the € 1.3 million grant Heineken received from the Dutch government for the acquisition of two state breweries in Ethiopia.

Who benefited? The advantage for Heineken is obvious: net sales rose sharply and the company now controls 30% of the Ethiopian beer market. But that does not apply to the Ethiopian government: Heineken currently pays - despite increased sales - less income tax than before the acquisition in 2011. In addition, Heineken also paid much less wage tax. That's because since the acquisition of the two breweries, 699 Ethiopians were fired by Heineken.

The impact on poverty in the country and on the beer barley farmers who participate is unclear. The latter have a higher yield and a better price, but may only supply the breweries of Heineken. An expert of the IMF judges the results of the Dutch policy as a lose-lose-win situation. A loss for the Ethiopian treasury, a loss for the personnel of the breweries and a win for Heineken.

Source: via our colleagues at STAP the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy.
glass-article A new systematic literature review on how the alcohol industry attempts to influence marketing regulations, concludes that the alcohol industry's political activity is more varied than previously thought. According to the research there are considerable commonalities between tobacco and alcohol industry political activity. Data extraction from seventeen papers showed that the alcohol industry's opposition to marketing regulation centres on claims that the industry is responsible and that self-regulation is effective. It furthermore identified a common strategy of questioning the effectiveness of statutory regulation sand by focusing on individual responsibility instead of seeing alcohol harm as a societal problem. Arguments relating to industry responsibility are often reinforced through corporate social responsibility activities. The industry primarily conveys its arguments through manipulating the evidence base and by promoting ineffective voluntary codes and non-regulatory initiatives. The article was published in the January issue of Addiction, which also contained a reaction by Professor Thomas Babor. Babor is very positive about the review and especially the focus on CSR being used to hide the industry’s true agenda. However, he calls for more attention on the question of identifying the impact of these CSR-related marketing policy activities on alcohol availability, alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. According to Babor: “The alcohol research community has, for too long, treated the alcohol industry like the elephant in the living room. It is not even a topic of theoretical conversation, much less a subject of research”. “(These) findings suggest that the strategies and tactics of the alcohol industry are likely to increase alcohol's psychological and social availability”, wrote Babor in his commentary, “and thereby increase the early initiation of drinking, the frequency and intensity of use and the kinds of problems associated with drinking, as was suggested recently by a review of industry activities in Africa”.
Authors: Sarah Mart, Norman Giesbrecht Title: Red flags on pinkwashed drinks: contradictions and dangers in marketing alcohol to prevent cancer Journal: Addiction, Volume 110, Issue 10 October 2015 Pages 1541–1548. Abstractsummary_articles8 Aims To document alcohol products and promotions that use the pink ribbon symbol and related marketing materials that associate alcohol brands with breast cancer charities, awareness and survivors. Methods We conducted a basic Boolean public internet search for alcohol products with pink ribbon/breast cancer awareness marketing campaigns. Results There is strong and growing evidence of alcohol as a contributing cause of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. There is no U-shaped curve for cancer, and threshold of elevated relative risk is as low as one drink a day for certain cancers. We found 17 examples of alcohol product campaigns with websites, press releases and social media posts, along with news articles and blog posts from industry and non-profit organizations regarding alcohol products associated with breast cancer causes and charities. Various cancer charities have entered into alliances with sectors of the alcohol industry that raise funds for breast cancer research, treatment or prevention by promoting the purchase of certain alcoholic beverages. Conclusions Some alcohol corporations use pink ribbons and other breast cancer-related images, messages and user-generated media to market a product that contributes to cancer disease and death. Therefore, cancer charities should adopt policies to separate them from alliances with the alcohol industry.
  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

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