New research exposes the alcohol industry-funded DrinkWise organisation for being used as a puppet by alcohol companies to boost profits.
A new study has revealed how the alcohol industry is using its Drinkwise organisation to create an impression of social responsibility while promoting measures for which there is little evidence of impact and are unlikely to hurt profits.
A research team from Deakin University’s School of Psychology examined submissions to the Australian National Preventative Health Taskforce (NPHT) to determine which organisations or individuals discussed positive relationships or work by Drinkwise. They found that all the submissions mentioning Drinkwise were submitted by the alcohol industry or its affiliates as evidence of their social responsibility or in recommending actions that are likely to benefit their bottom line.
DrinkWise was established in 2005 by the alcohol industry and since 2009 has been entirely funded by alcohol companies. It claims to promote a “healthier” alcohol consumption culture in Australia, and was behind the ”Kids Absorb Your Drinking” and ”Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix” advertising campaigns.
Dr Peter Miller, from Deakin University’s School of Psychology, described DrinkWise as a social aspects/ public relations organisation (SAPRO) commonly used by industries which harm many of their users.
They appear to lend credibility to the industry’s claims of social responsibility.
It is clear from our study that DrinkWise is being used by the alcohol industry for its own benefit.
Dr Miller led research that examined submissions to the Australian National Preventative Health Taskforce to see who had discussed positive relationships or work by DrinkWise. The findings are: All the submissions mentioning DrinkWise were submitted by the alcohol industry or its affiliates as evidence of their social responsibility or in recommending actions that are likely to benefit their bottom line. DrinkWise was used to create an impression of social responsibility but only promoted interventions that would have little impact on alcohol companies’ profits.
Measures known to be effective, such as higher taxes on alcohol or curbs on industry promotions were not pressed by DrinkWise, he said.