Working Together to Reduce Harmful Drinking  book cover
1st Edition

Working Together to Reduce Harmful Drinking

ISBN 9781138872660
Published April 23, 2015 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

This book is intended to contribute to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. It explores areas where alcohol producers’ technical competence can and does make a positive contribution to reducing harmful drinking and where industry input has been welcomed by WHO. The book describes each of these areas: producing beer, wine, and spirits; addressing availability of noncommercial beverages; pricing, marketing, and selling beverage alcohol; encouraging responsible choices; and working with others. The final chapter sets out views of how alcohol producers can contribute to reducing harmful drinking in countries where they are present.

Table of Contents


Authors: Marcus Grant (ICAP, USA) and Mark Leverton (Diageo, UK)

This chapter will describe how the book came about and how and why it can contribute to WHO’s process of developing the Global Strategy on Alcohol.

It will also address the issue of perceived conflicts of interest between industry funding and work in public health or alcohol research. The chapter will broaden the ethical debate around this topic to review experiences of industry-sponsored work in alcohol and other fields, discuss potential sources of conflict, and review approaches to deal with them.

Subsequent chapters will focus on seven areas where producers have made a positive contribution and have potential to do more. At minimum, all chapters will address the following questions:

  • What is the issue?
  • What is already known?
  • What additional knowledge and insights are required?
  • What can be done by the industry and other stakeholders?
  • What recommendations can be made for inclusion in the WHO Global Strategy?

The members of ICAP fully accept that theirs is one of the most regulated industries in the world today and are committed to working with governments, NGOs, and other interested parties to combat and reduce alcohol-related harm wherever and whenever this occurs.


Author: Marjana Martinic (ICAP, USA)

About the author: Dr. Martinic is Vice President of Public Health at ICAP, where her work focuses on the nexus between the scientific evidence base and international alcohol policy development. Prior to joining ICAP, she worked in developmental neuroscience research at the University of Virginia Medical School and at the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

This chapter will make a case for targeted interventions as a pragmatic and efficient approach to reducing harmful drinking. Unlike regulatory measures, the targeted approach is a highly democratic one—it provides a level playing field for all those with a stake in alcohol issues to make a contribution according to their abilities, means, and experience. The chapter will focus on areas in which targeted measures have been applied successfully—educational approaches, responsible sale and service of alcohol, alcohol-impaired driving, screening and brief interventions, and noncommercial alcohol—discussing opportunities for further involvement of industry members. These interventions are best implemented in conjunction with other measures, be they compliance or enforcement of regulations. No single approach can work in a vacuum, and there is a role for all stakeholders to play.


Author: Ron Simpson (ICAP Consultant, USA)

About the Author: Dr. Simpson has 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. Prior to retirement, Dr. Simpson was Vice President of Corporate Scientific Affairs at Joseph E. Seagram and Sons (ICAP Board Member), where he was responsible for developing and implementing strategies to gain a better understanding of the role of alcohol consumption in health and social issues. He received his doctorate in Nutrition at the University of California at Davis.

From a production point of view, most health-related issues arise from poor-quality alcohol, manufactured in an unsafe environment. All major manufacturers of beer, wine, and spirits have developed strict quality and safety controls and are willing to share their expertise with governments, the public health community, and others. The chapter will review successful multi-sector collaborations in this area, which include: provision of specific industry data on product production and trade flows to WHO, development of fire safety standards for distilleries and aging warehouses, and efforts to reduce counterfeiting of products. It will then propose options for further industry input and potential contributions from others in the alcohol field.


Author: Graeme Willersdorf (ICAP Consultant, Australia)

About the Author: Prior to retirement, Mr. Willersdorf was Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at the Foster’s Brewing Company and an ICAP Board Member.

The way in which alcohol is distributed to consumers plays an important role in influencing drinking behavior and its overall impact on the community. This chapter will focus on identifying the most effective strategies that can be implemented within the retail and hospitality sectors to reduce alcohol-related harms. Strategies that are well supported, solidly researched, and backed-up by complementary activities in other areas (such as consumer education and law enforcement) are generally more successful than measures occurring in isolation and without a supportive policy context. The chapter will discuss what is being done by various stakeholders and offer options for further contributions from the industry and others.


Author: Adrian Botha (Industry Association for Responsible Drinking - ARA, South Africa)

About the Author: Mr. Botha, formerly of SABMiller and an ICAP Board Member, is Executive Director of the Industry Association for Responsible Drinking (ARA), a social aspects organization in South Africa.

Regulations concerning the availability of alcohol beverages—or where, when, and by whom alcohol can be obtained and consumed—are a necessary component of any balanced alcohol policy. However, interventions should be pragmatic taking into account the reality of people’s drinking and consumer demands. This chapter will consider specific measures relating to physical alcohol availability, including legal age limits and the prevalence of noncommercial beverages, and propose new interventions for governments, NGOs, and the industry, to be implemented individually and in partnership.


Author: Godfrey Robson (ICAP Consultant, UK)

About the Author: Mr. Robson is Chairman of Scotland's largest independent company of management consultants and a Director of LloydsTSB Bank Scotland. He is also a Trustee of a major Scottish charity providing health advice and services to young people. He was Head of Economic and Industrial Affairs for Scotland, and subsequently Director of Health Policy of Frontline Consultants, in the Scottish administration. The current Scottish Executive Plan for Action on Alcohol Problems was drawn up under his direction.

This chapter will review the research literature on price and its relationship to alcohol consumption and consider, in the light of this evidence, a wide range of policy options that have commonly been discussed and implemented. The chapter will also propose several recommendations for governments and others on influencing alcohol-related behavior through alcohol duties and economic availability measures directed at particular groups of drinkers, e.g., young people.


Author: Roger Sinclair (Wits University, South Africa)

About the Author: Dr. Sinclair is professor emeritus at Wits University in Johannesburg, where he was head of the marketing department. He runs a consultancy that values brands using the methodology.

This chapter will review the history of alcohol marketing, focusing in particular on the development in the past thirty years of industry and government codes that oversee commercial messages. It will also discuss the research on the role of marketing in shaping alcohol-related choices and outcomes. The chapter will conclude with suggestions for improving existing mechanisms to reduce harmful drinking through marketing and outlines possible steps forward.


Author: Brett Bivans (ICAP, USA) and John Orley (Clifford Beers Foundation, UK)

About the Authors: Mr. Bivans is ICAP’s Director of Partnership Development. He is a specialist in public-private partnerships, project management, and corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Orley is a psychiatrist and anthropologist, who worked for 15 years in the Division of Mental Health of the World Health Organization in Geneva, latterly as the Programme Manager.  Since retiring from WHO, he has worked intermittently as a consultant for ICAP on a number of projects.  In addition to this, Dr Orley has since 2000 been Chairman of the Clifford Beers Foundation, a society devoted to the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental disorders.

This chapter will review the complementing roles of governments, NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations in the context of the proposals being made by the producers. It will present ICAP’s position on the importance of multi-sector partnerships in the alcohol field. It will review existing literature on developing and implementing multi-sector initiatives, provide examples of successful collaboration from ICAP’s and other industry members’ experience, and offer areas where further collaboration is necessary or may be particularly fruitful. It will stress that most recommendations made in the preceding chapters require involvement of multiple stakeholders to succeed.


Authors: Marcus Grant (ICAP, USA) and Mark Leverton (Diageo, UK)

This annex will weave together the book’s key recommendations, presenting a menu of measures to be considered for the WHO Global Strategy on Alcohol and stressing those areas where industry involvement is essential. The annex will also outline the set of principles supported by ICAP and its sponsoring companies.

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Marcus Grant, Mark Leverton