Alcohol companies are facing a significant amount of scrutiny due to the nature of the business. The public does not view all industries as equal or ethical. The alcohol industry is often classified as unethical based on the nature of the firm. It provides alcoholic beverages which can lead to alcoholism or even encourage minors to consume the product. However, the industry is unfairly targeted based on adverse actions of a few.
Alcohol companies provide beverages to the public with the assumption that the consumer is of age and will consume the product responsibly. They rely on the existing laws to prevent minors from gaining access to their products, and that their consumers are old enough to know when to stop drinking. The industry has an ethical obligation to protect their consumers, and this is being done by warning them of the dangers of overconsumption. Alcohol companies are taking their corporate social responsibilities to new levels, and are promoting individual accountability when consuming the product.
The alcohol industry has faced unfair scrutiny based on the nature of the industry; however, it is not justified. The ethical issue is not the product they are providing, but the individual choice to not use the product as it is intended. Consumers who choose to drink, need to do so in a responsible manner. “At the center of the responsible drinking initiative is the promotion of a core idea built on the alcohol industry’s corporate interest: the value of personal responsibility” (Mart and Tan, 2012). When considering consumers health and overall well-being, alcohol company’s practices of capitalism are deemed to be a public enemy. The industry is focused on the bottom line, not the effects of consuming their products. However, many companies have shifted their focus to promoting responsible drinking and warning their consumers of the dangers of overconsumption.
The corporate decision-making process fosters some social responsibility with marketing their products. Take for example Anheuser-Busch “We were the first alcohol beverage company to launch global goals on responsible drinking, and we are now tracking our progress, which will be achieved and independently verified by the end of 2014” (Newell, 2013). Ethical theories can support the business practices of alcohol companies. The utilitarian theory dictates that the best practices are the ones that serve the well-being of the consumers.
Alcohol companies are promoting responsible drinking and avoiding marketing ploys that appeal to minors. Kantian ethics does not focus on what is right or wrong, but if they fulfill their moral and ethical responsibilities. Again, alcohol companies are striving to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities in many different areas of operation. Virtue ethics focuses on individual character rather than the act or the consequence of their decisions. Anheuser-Busch is an excellent example of how companies in the alcohol industry are pushing toward responsible drinking, taking into account the well-being of the consumers over the bottom line.
Alcohol companies are taking their corporate social responsibilities to new levels, and are promoting individual accountability when consuming the product. The industry faces a lot of negative opinions because it is often viewed as unethical. However, alcohol is not the issue; it is how consumers choose to use the product. Many products on the market could pose harm to the customers if they use it incorrectly. Alcohol companies are taking their role in ethical business practices by promoting personal accountability. Individuals need to drink responsibility and know when they should stop. Firms in the alcohol industry are doing more and more to encourage the well-being of the consumers even if it has an adverse effect on company’s bottom line.