When Big Alcohol Became the Unlikely Hero

How hand sanitizer became good for business and beer tickets became a community service

Andrew Willis 21 July, 2020 | 1:05AM
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Andrew Willis: When we ran out of hand sanitizer, breweries and distilleries around the wasted no time in retooling to help keep us safe. By pivoting to meet demand for sanitizer, these companies made a positive societal impact while building their brands – which was a good look for an industry facing its fair share of social issues!

Companies that made hand sanitizer didn’t only help reduce the spread of the virus; they helped keep workers employed, and improved the skillsets of their workers by having them make new products. Some also went further, with proactive and creative ways to support the community, which included community fundraising with pre-paid beer, free keg refills and no-layoff guarantees to workers.

Sustainalytics says that Five companies stand out for their contributions during COVID-19. Thijs Huurdeman and Martin Vezér found that Heineken, Bacardi, Diageo, AB InBev and Pernod Ricard helped us mitigate impacts of the pandemic by supporting social aspects of the community – which also reflect the mosaic of material ESG issues faced by companies in the alcohol industry.

As an investor, it’s worth noting that these companies fare better than most when it comes to ESG risks– and their recent contributions may further benefit their reputations. However, keep in mind that corporate governance continues to be a risk in the industry – it’s not all cheers.

For Morningstar, I’m Andrew Willis.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar Rating
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV55.78 EUR-0.68
Diageo PLC ADR131.77 USD0.15Rating
Heineken NV  

About Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis  is Senior Editor at Morningstar Canada. He previously produced content for Fidelity Investments and finance industry events for Euromoney Institutional Investor and has written in the past for Thomson Reuters and CNN. Follow him on Twitter @Andrew_M_Willis.

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