Understanding the Ethics of Alcohol Production and Marketing

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beer-by-wagner-t-cassimiro-via-flickr

All organizations must follow a certain code of ethics. Without ethics, we lose social responsibility. One sector where ethics is hotly debated is the alcohol industry. There’s a lot of disagreements that arise with the marketing and production of alcohol, and it’s important to understand where the industry stands.

Why Ethical Alcohol Production is Important

It’s common knowledge that alcohol can be a dangerous product if not used responsibly. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, and it currently stands as the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

It’s particularly dangerous for teenage consumption. According to research from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), kids who start drinking are seven times more likely to cause an alcohol-related crash, and teen alcohol use results in more than 6,000 deaths per year.

Alcoholism is also a very serious problem. Not only can it cause severe health problems and even death, but it can also destroy the livelihoods of those who become addicted. Many don’t even realize they’re alcoholics, which makes their lifestyles more dangerous for themselves and those around them.

The statistics regarding the dangers of alcohol addiction fill up pages and pages of medical journals and blog posts. Because of this, ethics in alcohol production and marketing must be kept in check.

What Alcohol Companies Can Do

People make their own choices, so alcohol companies cannot be blamed for the statistics listed above. However, there are some things that can be done to greatly reduce the negative impact of alcohol on society. It’s all part of the industry’s approach to corporate responsibility and doing their part to ensure as little damage to health and wellness as possible. Here are some things manufacturers can do to reduce the negative impact of the product on society.

  • Be Careful in Advertising: As mentioned, alcohol in the hands of teenagers and alcoholics can be life changing. Being wary in advertising and avoiding marketing to underage drinkers is a big part of maintaining corporate responsibility. There are strict marketing standards that must be followed in order to avoid putting alcohol in the wrong hands.
  • Raise Awareness for the Dangers of Excess Alcohol Consumption: This may seem like a bad move for business, but it can actually be very good for a company’s image. Alcohol companies shouldn’t only be focused on selling as much of their product as possible. They should also express the dangers in order to promote a better quality of life for their customers.
  • Use Green Manufacturing Standards: Everything from the production of alcoholic beverages to the packaging and shipping can have a big impact on the environment. Alcohol manufacturers should avoid dumping harmful waste and seek recyclable packaging materials to reduce their impact.

What You Can Do

Alcohol companies will continue to sell beverages by the bushel, whether or not they adhere to ethical standards of production and marketing. There’s not much that can stop this, but you can do your part to promote greater ethics in alcohol production by supporting those businesses that are environmentally conscious. Look for companies who adhere to the above-mentioned standards and employ other practices that show their contribution to society.