Civil society to government: Don’t be misled by Big Alcohol

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Vision for Alternative Development, the Ghana NCD Alliance, the Ghana
Alcohol Policy Alliance and IOGT International caution the government
against false promises of alcohol producers to police themselves
In a meeting that brought together the Ministry of Health, Ministry of
Information, the Food and Drugs Administration and the alcohol industry,
including producers and advertisers, lofty promises were made to “raise
alcohol marketing and advertising standards to protect the health and safety
of consumers.”
Ghanaian civil society is deeply worried about several aspects concerning
this meeting. Issah Ali, the Executive Director of Vision for Alternative
Development (VALD) cautions the government:
“Firstly, our government should not have met with the alcohol industry to
discuss health and development policy making. The alcohol industry has a
clear and fundamental conflict of interest.
“Secondly, the intended actions are all about self-regulation. However,
alcohol industry self-regulation is nothing but a false promise.
“Thirdly, we demand from our government to protect all citizens, not just
consumers.
Alcohol marketing is harmful for all exposed to it, especially our children and
youth, as it normalizes alcohol use, encourages people to take up alcohol
consumption and to consume more alcohol when they have already started.
Alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion should be banned in Ghana.”
Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of Ghana NCD Alliance Alcohol
says “Alcohol and its related health and social implications including road
crashes leading to death, injury and disability and domestic violence are lives
threatening as such our health institutions must not be seen engaging
industries whose products inflicts such harm”.
Scientific evidence shows that alcohol industry self-regulation does not work;
it is more about protecting the interests of Big Alcohol, than the wellbeing of
children, youth and society as a whole1. New independent research alsoshows that corporate social responsibility commitments of the alcohol industry
do not, in fact, contribute to achieving health and development goals2.
Mr. Benjamin Anabila of the Ghana Alcohol Policy Alliance says: “Alcohol
marketing is of fundamental importance for the alcohol industry to hook
Ghanaian people on their products; they are promoting alcohol aggressively
in our country in order to increase profits to the benefit of a few shareholders
and executives. Simply put, they cannot afford to act responsibly about it.
“We demand from our government to put the well-being of Ghanaian
families and communities and the development of our society over the
narrow interests of the alcohol industry.”
An independent review of nearly 100 studies from over 20 countries
concluded that alcohol companies do not follow their own rules when it
comes to protecting children and adolescents, especially during large
sporting events like the FIFA World Cup Tournament3
.
In recent months, Heineken, the second largest beer producers worldwide,
has been exposed for using unethical methods in promoting beer sales, by
employing the so called ”beer girls”4
. Heineken is also implicated in a so￾called “beer marketing war” in Ivory Coast5
.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer producer and the corporation
behind FIFA World Cup sponsor Budweiser, has violated its own code of
conduct with marketing practices during the 2014 world cup6
, is closely
connected to the tobacco industry and has been found to use tax schemes7,
too. These are just two of the members and direct funders of the International
Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD).
“It’s a bad look for the Ghanaian government that they meet with an
organization like the IARD that represents the interests of Big Alcohol.
The IARD is the front group for the biggest alcohol producers in the world.
They have no interest in anything but the profits of their direct funders.

These are companies that are using such unethical business practices as
inciting hazardous alcohol use, tax schemes, or aggressive lobbying against
health and development promotion measures,” says Kristina Sperkova,
International President of IOGT International.
The civil society groups caution against the false promises of the alcohol
industry and urge the government to put the people’s interest before the
alcohol industry’s interest. Going forward it will be important that the
government takes responsibility for protecting Ghanaian children and youth,
families and communities and society at large from alcohol harm by banning
alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotions and by implementing other
World Health Organization best buys, free from the influence of the alcohol
industry.

For more information Contact:
Labram Musah
Programmes Director, VALD
+233-243-211854
labrammmusah@valdghana.org

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One thought on “Civil society to government: Don’t be misled by Big Alcohol

  • 10th May 2018 at 12:26 pm
    Permalink

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