01 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

The alcohol industry have attempted to position themselves as collaborators in alcohol policy making as a way of influencing policies away from a focus on the drivers of the harmful use of alcohol (marketing, over availability and affordability). Their framings of alcohol consumption and harms allow them to argue for ineffective measures, largely targeting heavier consumers, and against population wide measures as the latter will affect moderate drinkers. The goal of their public relations organisations is to 'promote responsible drinking'. However, analysis of data collected in the International Alcohol Control study and used to estimate how much heavier drinking occasions contribute to the alcohol market in five different countries shows the alcohol industry's reliance on the harmful use of alcohol. In higher income countries heavier drinking occasions make up approximately 50% of sales and in middle income countries it is closer to two-thirds. It is this reliance on the harmful use of alcohol which underpins the conflicting interests between the transnational alcohol corporations and public health and which militates against their involvement in the alcohol policy arena.

[Caswell S, Callinan S, Chaiyasong S, Cuong PV, Kazantseva E, Bayandorj T, Huckle T, Parker K, Railton R, Wall M. How the alcohol industry relies on harmful use of alcohol and works to protect its profits. Drug Alcohol Rev 2016;35:661-664]

01 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

CONTEXT: Transnational alcohol corporations (TACs) employ a range of strategies to achieve their business objectives, including attempts to frame perceptions of their activities in media debates. TACs aim to achieve a favourable regulatory environment by presenting themselves as socially responsible actors. However, the need to secure financial investment means they must also emphasise their potential for growth. This article investigates tensions between these objectives in coverage of the global alcohol industry in the UK print media.

METHODS: This article examines coverage of the world's four largest TACs in five British daily newspapers and one industry publication between March 2012 and February 2013. 477 articles were identified for analysis through keyword searches of the LexisNexis database. Thematic coding of articles was conducted using Nvivo software.

FINDINGS: Two conflicting framings of the alcohol industry emerge from our analysis. The first presents TACs as socially responsible actors; key partners to government in reducing alcohol-related harms. This is targeted at policy-makers and the public in an attempt to shape policy debates. The second framing highlights TACs' potential for economic growth by establishing new markets and identifying new customer bases. This is targeted at an audience of potential investors.

CONCLUSIONS: A fundamental contradiction lies at the heart of these framings, reflecting the tensions that exist between TACs' political and financial strategies. Alcohol industry involvement in policy-making thus involves a fundamental conflict of interests. Consequently, the UK government should reassess the prominence it currently affords to the industry in the development and delivery of alcohol policy.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Charities exist to pursue a public benefit, whereas corporations serve the interests of their shareholders. The alcohol industry uses corporate social responsibility activities to further its interests in influencing alcohol policy. Many charities also seek to influence alcohol and other policy. The aim of this study was to explore relationships between the alcohol industry and charities in the UK and whether these relationships may be used as a method of influencing alcohol policy.

METHODS: The charity regulator websites for England and Wales and for Scotland were the main data sources used to identify charities involved in UK alcohol policy making processes and/or funded by the alcohol industry.

RESULTS: Five charities were identified that both receive alcohol industry funding and are active in UK alcohol policy processes: Drinkaware; the Robertson Trust; British Institute of Innkeeping; Mentor UK and Addaction. The latter two are the sole remaining non-industry non-governmental members of the controversial responsibility deal alcohol network, from which all other public health interests have resigned.

CONCLUSION: This study raises questions about the extent to which the alcohol industry is using UK charities as vehicles to further their own interests in UK alcohol policy. Mechanisms of industry influence in alcohol policy making globally is an important target for further investigations designed to assist the implementation of evidenced-based policies.

04 December 2014 In Social and Cultural Aspects

Corporate actors seek to influence alcohol policies through various means, including attempts to shape the evidential content of policy debates. In this case study, we examined how SABMiller engaged the think tank Demos to produce reports on binge drinking, which were heavily promoted among policymakers at crucial stages in the development of the UK government's 2012 alcohol strategy. One key report coincided with other SABMiller-funded publications, advocating measures to enhance parenting as an alternative to minimum unit pricing. In this instance, the perceived independence of an influential think tank was used to promote industry interests in tactics similar to those of transnational tobacco corporations. This approach is in keeping with other alcohol industry efforts to marginalize the peer-reviewed literature.

Page 1 of 2

Disclaimer

The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.