How does the alcohol industry attempt to influence marketing regulations? A systematic review.
ABSTRACT: AIM:To systematically review, using a qualitative, narrative synthesis approach, papers examining alcohol industry efforts to influence alcohol marketing policy, and compare with those used by the tobacco industry. METHODS:Literature searches were conducted between April and July 2011, and updated in March 2013. Papers were included if they: made reference to alcohol industry efforts to influence (a) policy debates concerning marketing regulations, (b) new specific marketing policies or (c) broad alcohol policy which included marketing regulations; were written in English; and concerned the period 1990-2013. Alcohol industry political activity was categorized into strategies/tactics and frames/arguments. Data extraction was undertaken by the lead author and 100% of the papers were fully second-reviewed. Seventeen papers met the review criteria. RESULTS:Five main political strategies and five main frames were identified. The alcohol industry argues against marketing regulation by emphasizing industry responsibility and the effectiveness of self-regulation, questioning the effectiveness of statutory regulation and by focusing on individual responsibility. Arguments relating to industry responsibility are often reinforced through corporate social responsibility activities. The industry primarily conveys its arguments through manipulating the evidence base and by promoting ineffective voluntary codes and non-regulatory initiatives. CONCLUSIONS:The alcohol industry's political activity is more varied than existing models of corporate political activity suggest. The industry's opposition to marketing regulation centres on claims that the industry is responsible and that self regulation is effective. There are considerable commonalities between tobacco and alcohol industry political activity, with differences due potentially to differences in policy contexts and perceived industry legitimacy.
Project description:Tobacco industry interference has been identified as the greatest obstacle to the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use. Understanding and addressing industry interference in public health policy-making is therefore crucial. Existing conceptualisations of corporate political activity (CPA) are embedded in a business perspective and do not attend to CPA's social and public health costs; most have not drawn on the unique resource represented by internal tobacco industry documents. Building on this literature, including systematic reviews, we develop a critically informed conceptual model of tobacco industry political activity.We thematically analysed published papers included in two systematic reviews examining tobacco industry influence on taxation and marketing of tobacco; we included 45 of 46 papers in the former category and 20 of 48 papers in the latter (n = 65). We used a grounded theory approach to build taxonomies of "discursive" (argument-based) and "instrumental" (action-based) industry strategies and from these devised the Policy Dystopia Model, which shows that the industry, working through different constituencies, constructs a metanarrative to argue that proposed policies will lead to a dysfunctional future of policy failure and widely dispersed adverse social and economic consequences. Simultaneously, it uses diverse, interlocking insider and outsider instrumental strategies to disseminate this narrative and enhance its persuasiveness in order to secure its preferred policy outcomes. Limitations are that many papers were historical (some dating back to the 1970s) and focused on high-income regions.The model provides an evidence-based, accessible way of understanding diverse corporate political strategies. It should enable public health actors and officials to preempt these strategies and develop realistic assessments of the industry's claims.
Project description:The tobacco industry's future depends on increasing tobacco use in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), which face a growing burden of tobacco-related disease, yet have potential to prevent full-scale escalation of this epidemic. To drive up sales the industry markets its products heavily, deliberately targeting non-smokers and keeps prices low until smoking and local economies are sufficiently established to drive prices and profits up. The industry systematically flaunts existing tobacco control legislation and works aggressively to prevent future policies using its resource advantage to present highly misleading economic arguments, rebrand political activities as corporate social responsibility, and establish and use third parties to make its arguments more palatable. Increasingly it is using domestic litigation and international arbitration to bully LMICs from implementing effective policies and hijacking the problem of tobacco smuggling for policy gain, attempting to put itself in control of an illegal trade in which there is overwhelming historical evidence of its complicity. Progress will not be realised until tobacco industry interference is actively addressed as outlined in Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Exemplar LMICs show this action can be achieved and indicate that exposing tobacco industry misconduct is an essential first step.
Project description:AIMS:This research aimed to assess the application to the gambling industry, of Corporate Political Activity (CPA) analysis previously developed from public health research on tobacco industry interactions with political institutions and previously applied to the alcohol industry, but not the gambling industry. BACKGROUND:A growing body of literature has confirmed how public interest outcomes are frequently opposed by vested interests. This research focused on gambling industry submissions to a 2013 Australian Parliamentary inquiry into sports betting advertising. Gambling advertising became highly controversial following deregulation of sports betting advertising in Australia subsequent to the 2008 Australian High Court Betfair challenge. The dramatic increase in gambling advertising during sporting event broadcasts at children's viewing times and on new interactive technology, sparked public concerns. A series of national regulatory reviews followed and the gambling industry was actively involved in opposing further regulation. METHOD:The research used a corporate political activity (CPA) framework of analysis developed by UK tobacco public health researchers, which identified strategies and tactics used internationally by the tobacco industry, to broker pro-tobacco public policy outcomes. Testing the application of this CPA framework to gambling pro-industry strategies/tactics, this research focused on gambling industry submissions to the 2013 Australian Parliamentary Committee Inquiry. RESULTS:Like the tobacco industry, the research found the gambling industry used identified strategies and tactics, some new tactics and a new strategy of 'Corporate Social Responsibility', promoting 'responsible' industry practices and pre-emptive establishment of internal 'responsibility' units/practices. Despite public concerns regarding sports betting advertising, the gambling industry reinforced individual choice/blame for harms and claimed it acted responsibly. It did this using strategies identified in the tobacco industry CPA framework: information strategy (and shaping the evidence base); financial incentive strategy; constituency building strategy; policy substitution strategy; legal strategy; and constituency fragmentation and destabilization strategy. CONCLUSION:Similar to the CPA analysis applied to tobacco and alcohol industries, the research demonstrated the usefulness of the CPA taxonomy for analyzing and documenting pre-emptive industry policy strategies and tactics, exposing gambling industry efforts to maintain industry self-regulation via voluntary codes and avoid more government regulation. Cross-sectoral application of the framework signals great potential for use of CPA by policymakers and public health advocates as a tool in the analysis of corporate industry arguments/discourses.
Project description:A growing body of literature points to the role of vested interests as a barrier to the implementation of effective public health policies. Corporate political activity by the alcohol industry is commonly used to influence policy and regulation. It is important for policy makers to be able to critique alcohol industry claims opposed to improved alcohol marketing regulation. The Australian National Preventive Health Agency reviewed alcohol marketing regulations in 2012 and stakeholders were invited to comment on them. In this study we used thematic analysis to examine submissions from the Australian alcohol industry, based on a system previously developed in relation to tobacco industry corporate political activity. The results show that submissions were a direct lobbying tactic, making claims to government that were contrary to the evidence-base. Five main frames were identified, in which the alcohol industry claimed that increased regulation: (1) is unnecessary; (2) is not backed up by sufficient evidence; (3) will lead to unintended negative consequences; and (4) faces legal barriers to implementation; underpinned by the view (5) that the industry consists of socially responsible companies working toward reducing harmful drinking. In contrast with tobacco industry submissions on public policy, which often focused on legal and economic barriers, the Australian alcohol industry placed a heavier emphasis on notions of regulatory redundancy and insufficient evidence. This may reflect differences in where these industries sit on the 'regulatory pyramid', alcohol being less regulated than tobacco.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control makes a number of recommendations aimed at restricting the marketing of tobacco products. Tobacco industry political activity has been identified as an obstacle to Parties' development and implementation of these provisions. This study systematically reviews the existing literature on tobacco industry efforts to influence marketing regulations and develops taxonomies of 1) industry strategies and tactics and 2) industry frames and arguments. METHODS:Searches were conducted between April-July 2011, and updated in March 2013. Articles were included if they made reference to tobacco industry efforts to influence marketing regulations; supported claims with verifiable evidence; were written in English; and concerned the period 1990-2013. 48 articles met the review criteria. Narrative synthesis was used to combine the evidence. RESULTS:56% of articles focused on activity in North America, Europe or Australasia, the rest focusing on Asia (17%), South America, Africa or transnational activity. Six main political strategies and four main frames were identified. The tobacco industry frequently claims that the proposed policy will have negative unintended consequences, that there are legal barriers to regulation, and that the regulation is unnecessary because, for example, industry does not market to youth or adheres to a voluntary code. The industry primarily conveys these arguments through direct and indirect lobbying, the promotion of voluntary codes and alternative policies, and the formation of alliances with other industrial sectors. The majority of tactics and arguments were used in multiple jurisdictions. CONCLUSIONS:Tobacco industry political activity is far more diverse than suggested by existing taxonomies of corporate political activity. Tactics and arguments are repeated across jurisdictions, suggesting that the taxonomies of industry tactics and arguments developed in this paper are generalisable to multiple jurisdictions and can be used to predict industry activity.
Project description:There are concerns about the accuracy of the health information provided by alcohol industry (AI)-funded organisations and about their independence. We conducted a content analysis of the health information disseminated by AI-funded organisations through Twitter, compared with non-AI-funded charities, to assess whether their messages align with industry and/or public health objectives. We compared all tweets from 2016 from Drinkaware (UK); Drinkaware.ie (Ireland); and DrinkWise (Australia), to non-AI-funded charities Alcohol Concern (UK), Alcohol Action Ireland, and FARE (Australia). Industry-funded bodies were significantly less likely to tweet about alcohol marketing, advertising and sponsorship; alcohol pricing; and physical health harms, including cancers, heart disease and pregnancy. They were significantly more likely to tweet about behavioural aspects of drinking and less likely to mention cancer risk; particularly breast cancer. These findings are consistent with previous evidence that the purpose of such bodies is the protection of the alcohol market, and of the alcohol industry's reputation. Their messaging strongly aligns with AI corporate social responsibility goals. The focus away from health harms, particularly cancer, is also consistent with previous evidence. The evidence does not support claims by these alcohol-industry-funded bodies about their independence from industry.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In successfully negotiating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the World Health Organization (WHO) has led a significant innovation in global health governance, helping to transform international tobacco control. This article provides the first comprehensive review of the diverse campaign initiated by transnational tobacco corporations (TTCs) to try to undermine the proposed convention. METHODS AND FINDINGS:The article is primarily based on an analysis of internal tobacco industry documents made public through litigation, triangulated with data from official documentation relating to the FCTC process and websites of relevant organisations. It is also informed by a comprehensive review of previous studies concerning tobacco industry efforts to influence the FCTC. The findings demonstrate that the industry's strategic response to the proposed WHO convention was two-fold. First, arguments and frames were developed to challenge the FCTC, including: claiming there would be damaging economic consequences; depicting tobacco control as an agenda promoted by high-income countries; alleging the treaty conflicted with trade agreements, "good governance," and national sovereignty; questioning WHO's mandate; claiming the FCTC would set a precedent for issues beyond tobacco; and presenting corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an alternative. Second, multiple tactics were employed to promote and increase the impact of these arguments, including: directly targeting FCTC delegations and relevant political actors, enlisting diverse allies (e.g., mass media outlets and scientists), and using stakeholder consultation to delay decisions and secure industry participation. CONCLUSIONS:TTCs' efforts to undermine the FCTC were comprehensive, demonstrating the global application of tactics that TTCs have previously been found to have employed nationally and further included arguments against the FCTC as a key initiative in global health governance. Awareness of these strategies can help guard against industry efforts to disrupt the implementation of the FCTC and support the development of future, comparable initiatives in global health.
Project description:Charities exist to pursue a public benefit, whereas corporations serve the interests of their shareholders. The alcohol industry uses corporate social responsibility activities to further its interests in influencing alcohol policy. Many charities also seek to influence alcohol and other policy. The aim of this study was to explore relationships between the alcohol industry and charities in the UK and whether these relationships may be used as a method of influencing alcohol policy.The charity regulator websites for England and Wales and for Scotland were the main data sources used to identify charities involved in UK alcohol policy making processes and/or funded by the alcohol industry.Five charities were identified that both receive alcohol industry funding and are active in UK alcohol policy processes: Drinkaware; the Robertson Trust; British Institute of Innkeeping; Mentor UK and Addaction. The latter two are the sole remaining non-industry non-governmental members of the controversial responsibility deal alcohol network, from which all other public health interests have resigned.This study raises questions about the extent to which the alcohol industry is using UK charities as vehicles to further their own interests in UK alcohol policy. Mechanisms of industry influence in alcohol policy making globally is an important target for further investigations designed to assist the implementation of evidenced-based policies.
Project description:There is growing awareness of the detrimental effects of alcohol industry commercial activities, and concern about possible adverse impacts of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, on public health. The aims of this systematic review were to summarize and examine what is known about CSR initiatives undertaken by alcohol industry actors in respect of harmful drinking globally.We searched for peer-reviewed studies published since 1980 of alcohol industry CSR initiatives in seven electronic databases. The basic search strategy was organized around the three constructs of 'alcohol', 'industry' and 'corporate social responsibility'. We performed the searches on 21 July 2017. Data from included studies were analyzed inductively, according to the extent to which they addressed specified research objectives.A total of 21 studies were included. We identified five types of CSR initiatives relevant to the reduction of harmful drinking: alcohol information and education provision; drink driving prevention; research involvement; policy involvement and the creation of social aspects organizations. Individual companies appear to undertake different CSR initiatives than do industry-funded social aspects organizations. There is no robust evidence that alcohol industry CSR initiatives reduce harmful drinking. There is good evidence, however, that CSR initiatives are used to influence the framing of the nature of alcohol-related issues in line with industry interests.This research literature is at an early stage of development. Alcohol policy measures to reduce harmful drinking are needed, and the alcohol industry CSR initiatives studied so far do not contribute to the attainment of this goal.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:The aims of this study were to: (1) describe alcohol industry corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions conducted across six global geographic regions; (2) identify the benefits accruing to the industry ('doing well'); and (3) estimate the public health impact of the actions ('doing good'). SETTING:Actions from six global geographic regions. PARTICIPANTS:A web-based compendium of 3551 industry actions, representing the efforts of the alcohol industry to reduce harmful alcohol use, was issued in 2012. The compendium consisted of short descriptions of each action, plus other information about the sponsorship, content and evaluation of the activities. Public health professionals (n=19) rated a sample (n=1046) of the actions using a reliable content rating procedure. OUTCOME MEASURES:WHO Global strategy target area, estimated population reach, risk of harm, advertising potential, policy impact potential and other aspects of the activity. RESULTS:The industry actions were conducted disproportionately in regions with high-income countries (Europe and North America), with lower proportions in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Only 27% conformed to recommended WHO target areas for global action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The overwhelming majority (96.8%) of industry actions lacked scientific support (p<0.01) and 11.0% had the potential for doing harm. The benefits accruing to the industry ('doing well') included brand marketing and the use of CSR to manage risk and achieve strategic goals. CONCLUSION:Alcohol industry CSR activities are unlikely to reduce harmful alcohol use but they do provide commercial strategic advantage while at the same time appearing to have a public health purpose.