In the most recent edition of Addiction, the peer reviewed journal of the Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and other Drugs, Sally Casswell calls for a comprehensive and well funded global response to the activities of transnational alcohol producers. Casswell, Director of The SHORE and Whariki Research Centre at Massey University in Auckland New Zealand, writes that the producers are globally increasing the demand for alcohol by means of their marketing techniques. A thorough global measure should also counteract the alcohol producers ‘front organizations’, with which they try to obstruct the development of effective policy measures.

According to Casswell the last decades the companies of alcohol producers have grown to large transnational conglomerates. Because of their seize and transnational reach it is hard for national governments to deal with them effectively, thus Casswell points to the necessity of regulating through global governance. Because alcohol is not a normal commodity and has many harmful effects, the urgency for such regulations is higher, especially when the global reach and power of the alcohol industry is taken into account.

It is no coincidence that more people are drinking more hazardously and start drinking younger, Casswell argues, it is a deliberate consequence of the industry’s marketing measures.

In the article she writes: ‘They [the industry, ed.] have developed a global network of effective organizations, including the Corporate Social Responsibility divisions of the corporations themselves and a large number of front organizations at national, regional and global levels.’ The leading body of these is ICAP, the International Center on Alcohol Policy, according to Cassell. This organization engages governments and non-governmental organizations in developing countries around the world to promote ‘ineffective, industry-friendly policy.’ This movement needs to be countered. That is why the social scientist primarily wants to see adequate funding of counter activity, which is not happening at the moment. Casswell concludes that: ‘A strong, well-funded, global response is essential and urgent.’

Sources: Alcohol Reports 05/03/11

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