SABMiller chief executive Graham Mackay (pictured) has criticised the findings of a survey conducted by his own company, which shows deep scepticism about the benefits of global consumer brands for developing countries. The survey was conducted as part of SABMiller’s series of globalisation debates.
Some 1,011 senior influential people were surveyed on a panel run by research company YouGovStone. They include company chief executives, senior politicians and heads of charity groups.
Overall, they had a negative view of the benefits global brands bring to developing countries. According to three quarters of respondents, multinational consumer brands have a negative impact on local cultures and damage the interests of local brands.
Some 78% felt multinational consumer brands have an unfair advantage in developing markets. And there were concerns that promoting status-enhancing brands to people who would struggle to pay for them is increasingly seen as unethical. Even so, most respondents thought the brands brought benefits such as greater availability, improvements in product quality and opportunities for distributors.
“The research has turned up some findings with which we disagree,” says Mackay. He adds: “We would challenge the research findings that global consumer brands are perceived to have an unfair advantage over local brands; this is clearly not the case in the brewing industry.
“In fact, we would strongly disagree with the conclusions of the research that there is a conflict between the demands of consumers for ethics and sustainability and the demands of shareholders. We believe that those companies that understand and respond to the needs of their consumers will invariably deliver greater value to their shareholders.”