Corporate Responsibility: SABMiller funds children's alcohol education

Georgina Lock

SABMiller, one of the world's largest breweries, is giving money to Addaction to help educate children about alcohol misuse.

As part of its 'accountable business' strategy, SABMiller, which owns brands including Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Holsten and made a profit of £743m last year, is donating £60,000 to the UK drug and alcohol treatment charity. Addaction will use the funds to evaluate the effectiveness of an education resource pack for children in schools and other youth settings.

Head of industry affairs at SABMiller, Adrian Botha, said that the company has always been keen to ensure responsible promotion of its products and to reduce the incidence of alcohol misuse.

The 'Know Limits' pack focuses on alcohol education and was launched in 2002 as an initiative of the Cornwall Alcohol and Drug Agency, which has now merged with Addaction. It aims to help young people to make informed choices about alcohol, and may be used in any youth setting, not just schools.

The charity, which has long believed that the alcohol industry should be encouraged to support alcohol treatment, wanted to develop and market the pack but didn't have the money, so sought out funding from the drinks firm.

Chief executive of Addaction, Peter Martin, said: "We wanted to enter into a dialogue with SABMiller to influence their thinking about alcohol risk, education and responsibility, from our perspective in treatment."

It is the first time that SABMiller has worked with an alcohol treatment charity in the UK since the company set up its headquarters in London in 1999.

Throughout the world the brewer supports underage drinking prevention initiatives, drink driving prevention campaigns and, in South Africa, has sponsored research into foetal alcohol syndrome.

Sue Clark, corporate affairs director at SABMiller, said: "We deemed it appropriate to begin to consider how we could extend to the UK the work we do around the world to support education in trying to prevent misuse. We are delighted to be able to make a small contribution in this regard through an organisation of the standing of Addaction."

MONITOR

Richard Phillips, director of policy and services, Alcohol Concern

SABMiller is one of the largest breweries in the world and makes its money from selling alcohol. The more alcohol people buy, the more money it gets.

As with all companies that make and sell alcoholic drinks, it needs to be aware that what it sells can cause harm.

SABMiller donating money to Addaction is a very good idea and one that must be applauded.

It is a positive step for the drinks industry to take its social responsibility seriously. However, such partnerships can create conflicts within the industry.

We would be more in favour of a blind trust where the donor company doesn't have any say in where its money is used, in order to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest.

It is good that Addaction is not using SABMiller's logo in this case.

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