Editor's Viewpoint - Comic Relief's drinks line is no laughing matter
The decision this week by UK-based charity Comic Relief to pull its investments in alcohol companies looks like one that has been taken to calm a perceived braying mob.
Late last year, the investigative news programme Panorama reported that the charity held shares in tobacco, arms and alcohol companies. Of Comic Relief's investments, around GBP300,000 was found to have been invested in alcohol firms, primarily in Diageo. This, "despite its (Comic Relief's) mission statement saying it is 'working to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol related harm'", Panorama said.
Earlier this week, the charity said it would stop investing in alcohol firms.
It is a great shame that the charity has deemed alcohol companies as being an unethical investment. The decision tars the entire alcohol-production industry with the same brush: This should be a concern for us all.
At the same time, though, this week's news holds a mirror up to the drinks industry. If the more ethical investors out there are linking alcohol with tobacco and arms, then it is clear we have a lot more to do in order to appear less shady.
One such investor told me that beer and wine is considered to be less ethically questionable than spirits. If a line has been drawn within the full range of alcohol products, then that's fine. But, for all alcohol to be deemed unethical means we are not getting our message across anywhere near clearly enough.
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