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: Zembla.vara.nl via our colleagues at STAP the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy.
"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
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.