April 08 - International
brewers still behaving badly in Cambodia.
Latest research findings suggest Heineken and other
despite statements to media and shareholders, have not made significant
progress in 2007 to reduce high risks to their women beer-sellers in
Cambodia. Demands for
paying a "living wage", provide free HAART for HIV+ beersellers,
improve health education before employment, provide contracts
transparently, and end all workplace drinking (for starters) remain
Please read the recent
pressrelease (RTF- 28k)
07 The NGO Global Witness has recently published their
investigative report 'Cambodia's Family Trees: Illegal Logging and the
Stripping of Public Assets' on illegal trade in Cambodia, focusing
primarily on illegal logging but with additional information concerning
the alcohol beverage industry (pp. 82-86). Download report in pdf (5mb)
SiRCHESI researchers observe for the first time Royal Stout
Ginseng, Bayon and Guinness being sold by female beer sellers in Siem
Reap. Royal Stout Ginseng and Bayon* are owned by Carlsberg. *Bayon is
brewed by Cambrew which is half owned by Carlsberg.
June 2007 Cass, a Korean beer owned by INBEV and sold by
women in Cambodia "recently released a new product [in Korea] with
twice the alcohol of average brews after it realised sales of its other
products were falling because they took too long to get people drunk"
an article in The Independent reports. In Korea the culture of business
binge drinking "forces" women to drink "corrosive combinations of beer
and rice wine to climb the career ladder".
Read the full article
online or in
in rtf 16kb
VBDO Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable
six points for shareholders to raise at the Annual Heineken
meeting on 19th April 2007. In response to a report
(read online in English or
in Dutch) produced by SOMO
(Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) which is a
Dutch non-profit research and advisory bureau), VBDO will raise issues
concerning Heineken’s practices and policies at the annual
Heineken shareholders meeting. The report contains a section on
Cambodian labour practices and is informed by research including
reports from SirCHESI
CARE . See page 10 for a brief report from the shareholders
meeting; and page 23 for the original
text from the beer promotion case.
partnered with 3 pioneering Siem Reap hotels in a
Hotel Apprenticeship Program which runs from 2006-2008.
This removes women from risky beer-selling jobs, sends them every
morning to SiRCHESI’s school to learn English, Khmer reading,
health education, social and life skills. For 8 months, they also
complete 9-hour mentored shifts in the Lin Ratanak Angkor
Angkor Hotel and Resort and Angkor Howard Hotel
www.angkorhowardhotel.com. Apprentices then receive 16-month
permanent contracts, with “fair wages” paid
throughout. Read the SirCHESI
2006 newsletter (pdf 8,700kb),
2007 newsletter (pdf 758kb).
Citing Van Merode (2006) a brief prepared for Heineken shareholders
states "The workplace risks from nightly alcohol overuse, violence,
forced sex, and HIV/AIDS for sellers of Heineken (and part-owned brands
Tiger, ABC, and Anchor) are alarming". The detailed brief goes on to
outline the two major causes of health and safety
risks not addressed by the BSIC code of conduct for beer sellers.
Read shareholders brief (rtf 88kb)
25 Oct 2006 Beer Selling Industry Cambodia
(BSIC) publish a Code of Conduct for Beer Promoters (BPs) setting
industry standards for health, safety and working conditions
Read (pdf 33kb)
Why are Cambodian ”beer girls” still at risk?
Scientists and practitioners criticise Heineken’s anti-AIDS
policy: Suggest International brewers must urgently do more for
women’s health and security in Cambodia' - press release is
sent to media in N.America, Cambodia and the UK read press release
(rtf 37kb) and background
info (rtf 57kb) or read press release in Dutch (rtf 7.76kb)
An article and responding letter appear in the Lancet. A letter is sent
to CEOs and a meeting follows. Details are set out below.
On 5th Aug an article by van der
Borght et al is published in The Lancet praising Heineken for providing
for free highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) to its
(predominately male) workers in Africa. This article and editorial
suggest Heineken's policy might stand as a good corporate model for
other responsible businesses to follow. These articles are available to
download via ScienceDirect - van
der Borght 5/08/06 and
The Lancet editorial titled 'The business of HIV/AIDS'.
13th Sept a letter is sent to CEOs of three major European brewers
(INBEV, Heineken and Carlsberg) inviting them to meet to discuss
proactive steps... Read
letter (rtf 13kb). A
presentation (4,716 kb) was made to Corporate Relations and
On 25th Sept a response to the ver der
Borght article and editorial (The
Lancet 5th Aug 06) is published in The Lancet. While praising
Heineken's policy of providing free HAART for workers in Africa van
Merode et al's response calls for this policy to be expanded to female
beer promoters in Cambodia.
Read van Merode response via The Lancet online
Reap Citizen's for Health, Educational and Social Issues) delegates
help present satelite session on Aids, alcohol, violence and
trafficking risks at 3rd Asia Pacific Conference on reproductive and
Sexual health (Kuala Lumpar Nov 17th - 21st)chaired by Mu Sochua
(former minister of women's affairs, Cambodia). On Nov 22nd a press
conference was held in Phnom Penh, (chaired by Mu Sochua); SIRCHESi
speakers described risks to women in Siem Reap from Aids, alcohol and
violence. A press release was issued calling for public demonstration
by beer promoters and other women in Siem Reap on Nov 27th 2005. This
was the first time that beer promoters joined politicians,, NGO workers
union organisers and other supporters to publicly march to reduce
health and safety risks in their workplace.
Nov2005 SiRCHESI (Siem
Reap Citizen's for Health, Educational and Social Issues) Newsletter.
Find out about SiRCHESI, how you can immediately help Cambodian health
projects, why the health crisis is som deadly in Siem Reap, the double
threat of alcohol and Aids, SirCHESI's recent activities and the
programs they have planned for 2005-2006. Download
an A4 copy of the newsletter in pdf.
A presentation was made in Amsterdam at Heineken's international
headquarters. Heineken executives were asked to taken an even more
vanguard role in the improvement of the lives of the women selling
alcohol in Cambodia, beyond their current efforts with a "Selling Beer
Safely" educational program. A scheduled presentation to INBEV
(Interbrew) executives in Belgium was cancelled by the company.
SiRCHESI launched, with help from CARE,
an alcohol awareness workshop for 27 beer promoters. These women who
sell international beer and other alcoholic products consume unsafe
quantities of alcohol (1.2 litres of beer nightly).
Feb 2005 Hague
Times/Amsterdam Times: Heineken announces it has a doctor (GP) now
available for its beer promotion women, presumably in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia. However, because Heineken and other breweries insist that
these women are not "workers" or "employees" (even if they receive a
$55 monthly salary), so far there is no announcement that this doctor
will supervise anti-retroviral therapy for the 20% of the female
sales-force now HIV+. Yet, Heineken's HIV/AIDS policy promises to do
this worldwide. Does the new CEO know about this? contact
Jan 2005 Research is being carried out on the added impact of
alcohol in the workplace. It is estimated that some beer girls drink on
average 1.2 ltrs of beer per night, 28 days a month.
Sept2004 We have learned that breweries are expanding their
markets into China. China may have a proportionately larger workforce
of women and as in Cambodia, 20% HIV/AIDS related deaths and quick
massive replacements once the women have died.
from Heineken (which owns approx 42% of Tiger's parent company Asia
Pacific Breweries) at a conference on HV/AIDS in Siem Reap, reported
that since Dec., 2003, Tiger beer is providing free anti-retroviral
therapy for male brewery workers at its Cambodian subsidiary.
Heineken and Asia Pacific Breweries announced that a workplace health
promotion Safe Beer Selling (SBS) Program was being initiated in
Cambodia with participation of CARE.
By April 2005, CARE had removed the program description from their
website. Heineken and Tiger have not changed the basic renumeration
scheme; "salaried" women do worse off now than they would under the
former "commission" scheme. As for provision of anti-retroviral therapy
for women, Heineken, Tiger and all other breweries are still