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Concept: Social responsibility

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Alcohol consumption increases the risk of several types of cancer, including several common cancers. As part of their corporate social responsibility activities, the alcohol industry (AI) disseminates information about alcohol and cancer. We examined the information on this which the AI disseminates to the public through its ‘social aspects and public relations organizations’ and related bodies. The aim of the study was to determine its comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Concepts: AIDS, Alcohol, Breast cancer, Oncology, Management, Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Social responsibility

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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.

Concepts: Health, Alcohol abuse, Drinking culture, Business, Long-term effects of alcohol, Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility, Socially responsible investing

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It has been argued that the alcohol industry uses corporate social responsibility activities to influence policy and undermine public health, and that every opportunity should be taken to scrutinise such activities. This study analyses a controversial Diageo-funded ‘responsible drinking’ campaign (“Stop out of Control Drinking”, or SOOCD) in Ireland. The study aims to identify how the campaign and its advisory board members frame and define (i) alcohol-related harms, and their causes, and (ii) possible solutions.

Concepts: Management, Board of directors, Analysis, Drinking culture, Responsibility, Corporation, Sociological terms, Social responsibility

23

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral element of how the alcohol industry promotes itself. The existing analyses of CSR in the alcohol industry point to the misleading nature of these CSR practices. Yet, research has been relatively sparse on how the alcohol industry advances CSR in an attempt to facilitate underlying business interests, and in what ways the ongoing display of industry CSR impacts public health. This paper aims to investigate the alcohol industry’s recent CSR engagements and explain how CSR forms part of the industry’s wider political and corporate strategies.

Concepts: Scientific method, Health, Alcohol abuse, Business, Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility, Socially responsible investing

16

‘Responsible drinking’ campaigns emerged in the early 1970s as a means of addressing hazardous drinking and its related consequences. While these were initially the product of public health agencies and health-related NGOs, they are increasingly being developed and disseminated by the alcohol industry. There is considerable debate as to whether industry-generated campaigns are designed to reduce hazardous drinking and related problems (as argued by their developers) or are designed to avoid government regulation or even to increase sales. The aim of the present study was to explore the way that recent industry-developed responsible drinking campaigns are perceived and interpreted by the general public. That is, do they promote low-risk drinking, promote risky drinking, or just muddy the waters. Two sub-studies were conducted. The first, a mall intercept study with 180 adults in two Australian shopping districts, explored participants' understanding of slogans/taglines. The second, an online survey with 480 Australian adults, explored understandings and interpretations of television/online commercials. The results of the two studies revealed diversity in participants' interpretation of the ‘responsible drinking’ advertisements. Terminology utilised in industry-developed advertisements was found to be ambiguous; for example, what age group was being referred to in the tagline ‘Kids and alcohol don’t mix’, and whether ‘Drink Properly’ meant not drinking to excess or drinking in a way that made you look more sophisticated. In Study Two, the government-developed campaign (‘Know when to say when’) was clearly interpreted as warning against risky consumption of alcohol; whereas the industry-developed campaigns (‘How to drink properly’, ‘Kids absorb your drinking’, ‘Friends are waiting’) were interpreted to have a range of different meanings, including some seemingly unrelated to alcohol. These findings are consistent with the literature evaluating anti-smoking campaigns developed by the tobacco industry, and previous research showing that industry communications serve to soften public opinion and create the impression of a ‘socially responsible’ industry but are likely to be less effective than initiatives focused on the availability and promotion of alcohol.

Concepts: Perception, Linguistics, Interpretation, Drinking culture, Responsibility, Public, Sociological terms, Social responsibility

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As pharmaceutical firms experience increasing civil society pressure to act responsibly in a changing globalized world, many are expanding and/or reforming their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. We sought to understand how multinational pharmaceutical companies currently engage in CSR activities in the developing world aimed at global health impact, their motivations for doing so and how their CSR strategies are evolving.

Concepts: Medicine, Sociology, Civil society, Globalization, Corporation, Multinational corporation, Corporate social responsibility, Social responsibility

9

This paper concerns the responsibility of co-authors in cases of scientific misconduct. Arguments in research integrity guidelines and in the bioethics literature concerning authorship responsibilities are discussed. It is argued that it is unreasonable to claim that for every case where a research paper is found to be fraudulent, each author is morally responsible for all aspects of that paper, or that one particular author has such a responsibility. It is further argued that it is more constructive to specify what task responsibilities come with different roles in a project and describe what kinds of situations or events call for some kind of action, and what the appropriate actions might be.

Concepts: Scientific method, Ethics, Value, Responsibility, Sociological terms, Scientific misconduct, Social responsibility, Individual responsibility

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Medical schools are increasingly called to include social responsibility in their mandates. As such, they are focusing their attention on the social determinants of health (SDOH) as key drivers in the health of the patients and communities they serve. However, underlying this emphasis on SDOH is the assumption that teaching medical students about SDOH will lead future physicians to take action to help achieve health equity. There is little evidence to support this belief. In many ways, the current approach to SDOH within medical education positions the SDOH as “facts to be known” rather than as “conditions to be challenged and changed.” Educators talk about poverty but not oppression, race but not racism, sex but not sexism, and homosexuality but not homophobia. The current approach to SDOH may constrain or even incapacitate the ability of medical education to achieve the very goals it lauds, and in fact perpetuate inequity. In this article, the authors explore how “critical consciousness” and a recentering of the SDOH around justice and inequity can be used to deepen our collective understanding of power, privilege, and the inequities embedded in social relationships in order to foster an active commitment to social justice among medical trainees. Rather than calling for minor curricular modifications, the authors argue that major structural and cultural transformations within medical education need to occur to make educational institutions truly socially responsible.

Concepts: Medicine, Education, Sociology, Physician, Medical school, School, Core issues in ethics, Social responsibility

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In this article, we critically reflect on the responsibilities that the food industry has for public health. Although food companies are often significant contributors to public health problems (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes), the mere possibility of corporate responsibility for public health seems to be excluded in the academic public health discourse. We argue that the behavior of several food companies reflects a split corporate personality, as they contribute to public health problems and simultaneously engage in activities to prevent them. By understanding responsibility for population health as a shared responsibility, we reassess the moral role of the food industry from a forward-looking perspective on responsibility and ask what food companies can and should do to promote health. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 19, 2017: e1-e5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2016.303601).

Concepts: Health economics, Public health, Health, Nutrition, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Population health, Social responsibility

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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.

Concepts: Tobacco, Tobacco smoking, Economics, Illegal drug trade, Social responsibility, Smuggling, Arbitration award