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Table 4 Direct impact of TNC practices on daily living conditions

From: Assessing the health impacts of transnational corporations: a case study of Carlton and United Breweries in Australia

Work and workforce conditions
 • CUB’s operational workforce is covered by a range of enterprise agreements negotiated with relevant unions and approved by the Fair Work Commission.
 • CUB has flexible work practices support work-life balance, including job sharing, telecommuting, part-time employment and flexible working hours.
 • CUB provides eight weeks paid maternity leave in addition to government paid parental leave, redundancy pay, paid domestic violence, and family leave.
 • However, the alcohol industry, especially the retail sector, is heavily casualised, with implications for employees’ willingness to speak out about health and safety issues.
 • CUB has sought to outsource workers since 2009 through the use of labour hire companies. In 2016, 55 workers were told to reapply for their jobs with severely reduced wages. Hansard records reveal aggressive and threatening comments made by CUB management at the time.
 • In 2020 CUB was investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman for allegedly inadvertently underpaying Au$1million in penalty rates to 635 hospitality workers over a 10 year period.
Social conditions
 • Social drinking can provide enjoyment, with local hotels, especially in country areas, providing an important meeting place.
 • However, there are high levels of alcohol-related violence affecting local communities including street violence, and domestic and family violence.
 • Police, ambulance, hospital, and alcohol treatment services, and child protection systems are all negatively impacted by the industry, with emotional impacts on families.
 • Alcohol dependence is both a health and social issue with addiction harming families and communities.
 • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children comprise many of the young people aged between 10 and 14 years with a range of different disabilities influenced by risky drinking who are incarcerated, rather than being cared for in the community.
 • There are strong links between the alcohol industry and gambling and they interact to cause social harms.
 • The global alcohol industry and TNCs place their responsibility to shareholders to maintain high level sales above the social and health needs of the Australian community.
Natural environment
 • CUB supports Greenfleet, a leading not-for-profit organisation which restores native biodiverse forests in Australia and New Zealand to capture carbon emissions on behalf of supporters. This helps CUB to calculate and offset vehicle emissions.
 • CUB announced in 2018 that it would adopt 100% renewable energy by 2025
 • In 2018 CUB signed a 12-year Power Purchase Agreement with a German renewable energy developer and service provider for power sourced from a giant solar farm in northern Victoria which provides most of its electricity needs.
 • Solar panels are being installed on the roofs of CUB’s breweries.
 • The global environmental organisation, Greenpeace, used CUB as a case study on positive renewable based energy.
• CUB is committed to reducing water usage and improving efficiency across its breweries, including a water reclamation facility in Queensland.
 • CUB invests in ‘smart’ agriculture, including new barley varieties to increase quality and to provide long-term commercial opportunities for farmers.
 • CUB has pledged that 100% of its products will be in returnable packaging, or made from mainly recycled content by 2025.
 • In 2019 CUB discontinued six-pack plastic ring packaging which, if discarded, may ensnare marine animals.
 • However, alcohol-related littering, including broken glass, still prevails and leads to higher levels of landfill.
 • The brewery process consumes high volumes of water and crop growing usurps arable land that could be used for food production.
 • In 2018 residents in a regional Victorian town lost a court battle to stop CUB’s parent company, Asahi, from engaging a farmer to extract groundwater for bottling; incurring legal fees of Au$90,000.
Adverse health impacts
 • Irreparable damage from FASD results in violence, impacts on relationships, and potential for miscarriage.
 • The transmission of violence and aggression, and a range of other mental health problems continues in a vicious cycle through genetic and early developmental and environmental influences.
 • Alcohol related violence can cause stress and subsequent pre-term labour and low birth weight babies.
 • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations are more likely to drink alcohol at risky levels but also the most likely to abstain.
 • Mandatory replacement of CUB’s glass bottles with cans in a remote setting with a high Indigenous population has led to a reduction in lacerations, stabbings, and emergency hospital presentations.
Economic conditions
 • CUB’s economic contribution includes directly employing 1700 staff in breweries, distribution centres, and offices. The company supports other jobs in manufacturing, transport, retail, hospitality, tourism and agriculture.
 • Taxation revenue from CUB’s operations provides for health and social investment: a portion of alcohol excise and goods and services taxes of Au$2.4 billion in 2015–2016.
 • However, as part of the wider alcohol industry, CUB is also responsible for a portion of the billions of dollars required annually to deal with the health and environmental impacts of alcohol, including the burden on health systems and law enforcement due to vehicle accidents and domestic and other forms of violence, which are externalised to the broader community.