Draft law to prevent alcohol firms' social responsibility programmes

June 22, 2018 | 18:21
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Businesses are worried that paying 0.5 to 1 per cent of their sales revenue to a health fund or the state budget prescribed by the Draft Law on Alcohol Harms Prevention would prove too much, as they are already charged with high special consumption tax. They want to conduct CSR activities to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by themselves.
draft law to prevent alcohol firms social responsibility programmes
Tran Huu Minh, deputy chief of office of NTSC speaking at the workshop on prevention of harmful use of alcohol beverages

On June 21 Asia-Pacific International Wines and Spirits Alliance (APIWSA) and Pernod Ricard, in collaboration with the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), held a workshop on the role and social responsibility of enterprises to prevent the abuse of alcoholic beverages.

Attending the workshop, besides firms and associations in the field of alcohol drinks, there were social organisations, education facilities, and relevant agencies.

At the workshop opening, Tran Huu Minh, deputy chief of the office of NTSC, stated: “Member firms of APIWSA have been proactively collaborating with NTSC to deploy numerous meaningful programmes and warn of drink driving, along with various activities improving the knowledge and capacity of the traffic police. NTSC highly appreciates the achievements and hopes that these firms will continue collaborating with NTSC and relevant agencies to deploy more and more programmes across the country.”

Lawyer Nguyen Tien Vy, chairman of the Vietnam Association for Responsible Drinking (VARD), said: “Folllowing Decision No.244/QD-TTg of the prime minister on the national policy on preventing the harms of abusing alcoholic beverages by 2020, member enterprises under APIWSA have been collaborating with the relevant organisations and agencies to implement social responsibility programmes and initiatives to prevent alcohol abuse."

"However, they are facing various challenges from policies. For example, the Draft of Law on Alcohol Harms Prevention stipulates that facilities processing and importing alcoholic beverages will have to pay 0.5 to 1 per cent of the selling price for a health fund or the state budget to prevent the impacts of alcoholic beverages. If this draft is approved, businesses will have no funds to carry out programmes to prevent the harms of alcohol by themselves,” he added.

PhD Phan Thi Kim, chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Food Safety Science and Technology, said that this is not the best solution to prevent the harms of alcohol. It is necessary to find solutions ensuring the quality and safety of home-brewed wines capturing 75 per cent of alcohol consumption.

Nguyen Van Viet, chairman of the Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Association of Vietnam, suggested adding some regulations to the law to encourage businesses to take part in controlling the harms of beer, alcohol, as well as improve the capacity of law enforcement agencies.

He also expressed concern that if this law is approved, businesses will have no funds for their own CSR programmes which they have been implementing effectively. He also confirmed that strengthening the collaboration between the government and businesses is also essential to deploy activities and initiatives related to reducing the harmful use of alcoholic beverages.

Numerous projects and programmes have been carried out successfully, including International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), “Smashed” of Diageo Vietnam Company, “Safe Roads 4 Young” of Pernod Ricard Vietnam Co., Ltd., Responsible Drinking and Road Safety of APIWSA in collaboration with Vietnam Women’s Union and the Traffic Police, the pilot project on the prevention and control of bus drivers consuming alcoholic beverages at bus stops and the establishment of VARD.

These have had positive impacts, including improving the capacity of 1,134 traffic police personnel, the training of 926 communications officers, and improving the knowledge of millions of pupils, students, and people on the harmful effects of alcohol, as well as donating 50 sets of breath analysers for roadside checks, among others.

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