Business partner: Addaction and Heineken

The drug and alcohol charity advises the drinks brand on its corporate social responsibilty

Addaction and Heineken
Addaction and Heineken

The drinks company Heineken's partnership with the drug and alcohol treatment charity Addaction, which has been in operation since 2005, is a reminder that corporate social responsibility has to be justified by its effect on the bottom line.

Fenella Tyler, Heineken's head of corporate responsibility, says it wanted to work with a charity like Addaction because alcohol misuse is the biggest threat to its business.

"If alcohol misuse continues unchecked, the regulations could be so extreme that they would prevent a company like Heineken promoting its brands to the public," says Tyler.

That said, the partnership has not been about "shoving some money and telling everyone what a wonderful company we are", she says. Heineken has provided financial backing for new projects, worth £655,000 in total, such as a Manchester resettlement service for ex-offenders with drink problems.

Projects like this have yet to prove their worth to mainstream state funders. "We are doing it for very different reasons than simple PR - it's because we want to find the right solutions to the problem," says Tyler.

Alan Hopley, Addaction's director of fundraising, admits its partnership with an alcohol company is contentious. But he says Heineken has shown that it supports Addaction's mission and responds to its service users. For example, the company withdrew Strongbow Black after Addaction's clients in London spoke about its negative effect on them.

"We have funders and we have partners - I would put Heineken in the latter category," says Hopley.

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