Page last updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Corporate Social Leadership
2003 saw an important round of conferences in Europe, with social responsibility and a pro-active industry as a central theme. Hot on the footsteps of the Amsterdam Group (TAG) conference reported in the September/October edition of AIM, the World Advertising and Research Centre and ADMAP hosted the 8th Alcoholic Drinks Conference which focused on Social Leadership within the Social Responsibility Debate.

The essence of the conference was to see corporate social leadership as a marketing opportunity and key to company policy throughout all departments rather than being periphery to business. A quote from Pricewaterhouse Coopers summarised the position well; ‘A company’s most important asset is its reputation’. And a study by Heineken presented at the AIM/WSA conference on self regulation and social responsibility showed that the beverage alcohol industry needs to build trust and reputation as the public believe the industry to be less responsible than the petro-chemical industry, pharmaceuticals and GM companies, in fact only tobacco scored lower.

This was closely followed by a fascinating seminar hosted by the British Beer and Pub Association and Anheuser Busch on the Social Norm Approach to reducing alcohol misuse in the City of Manchester (UK) and in US Colleges and Universities.

‘Social Norming’ involves education campaigns that look to reverse binge drinking in colleges through publishing facts and figures. Experience shows that banning alcohol on campus or saying ‘don’t drink’ does not work. Social Norming uses figures to illustrate that most people drink sensibly to show that excess is the exception rather than the norm. The idea is to remove the pressure that college freshmen feel to drink to excess to fit in as the ‘norm’ has incorrectly been believed to be binge drinking rather than moderation.

Finally the Brewers of Europe held a conference on Beer and Health in Brussels and were able to announce that a European equivalent of the ABRMF for Europe has now commissioned its first research. The initiative, guided by Professor Oliver James of the University of Newcastle aims to help fund impartial alcohol research which to date is under funded in Europe.

A summary of the conference can be found via www.brewersofeurope.org.
All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.