The alcohol industry, charities and policy influence in the UK

Eur J Public Health. 2014 Aug;24(4):557-61. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku076. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


Background: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Capital Financing / economics
  • Capital Financing / organization & administration
  • Charities* / economics
  • Charities* / organization & administration
  • Food Industry* / economics
  • Food Industry* / organization & administration
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Policy Making
  • United Kingdom