Erste Asset Management

Everything was better in the past!

Everything was better in the past!
Everything was better in the past!
© iStock
Share post:

The Austrian term “Komasaufen“, which refers to the practice of binge drinking, received the “Doublespeak Award” 2007. The award followed significant media coverage and discussion on the alcoholic excesses that young people were engaging in with extremely sweet alcoholic beverages. On the one hand, I understand the relevance of the topic, not the least due to an array of beverages that target in particular underage customers.

On the other hand, I also find the discussion about heavy drinking slightly hypocritical. The aforementioned term has always been an attempt to draw a line in the sand between activities one had engaged in back in the days, and the actions of young people today. Yes, we also drank too much alcohol in the past.

Water to wine

Don’t worry, my point is not “… and I turned out fine.” Rather, I believe that alcohol is a drug accepted by (Western) society, and a complete ban can and should not be on the table. It cannot be, because I do not think a ban would realistically work. The roots of alcohol in our society are too deep, like an old vine. At state banquettes, toasts are proposed; at family and company functions, people cheer, and the priest turns wine into the blood of Christ. And it should not be, because I believe that another Prohibition would come with side effects none of us would want. It is not by accident that Hollywood managed to burn Al Capone and Eliot Ness into the collective memory of mankind.

If a ban does not work and makes no sense either, the question is, what can be done? Turn around, forget about it, and order the next glass of wine? Of course not. We have to deal with the topic of alcohol responsibly. Personally, within the family, at work, and in society. In medieval times, stout was considered a nourishing breakfast for the whole family, including the children. Nowadays, a beer for breakfast is regarded as a clear hint that someone might have an alcohol problem. And that’s even before the fact that the kid would not get any beer at all, not for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This is not accepted by society and would be a clear no-go.

The responsibility of companies

This is where from my point of view corporate responsibility has to enter the picture. Companies are a part of society and have to be able to handle their responsibility. This includes production and its conditions as well as the product range. Is it responsible behaviour vis-à-vis society to create specific, dedicated product lines that appeal mainly to underage customers? During the sales process, does anybody make sure that the alcohol ends up with those who can handle it?

At the end of the day, the way companies treat the 340,000 people who are deemed to suffer from alcoholism is also important. Every company with about 100 employees can expect to have an average of 3 alcoholics in its midst. (N.B. Actually one more if we assume that children are less affected, and alcoholics tend to die younger than the rest of the population.)

From our point of view, it is the goal of sustainable investors to make companies take their responsibility in society seriously, curtail alcohol abuse, and handle its consequences.


Read more articles from this issue of our ESG letter here.

*ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance“ – These are the three broad categories according to which companies are examined in sustainable investment.


Legal note:
Prognoses are no reliable indicator for future performance.



Legal disclaimer

This document is an advertisement. Unless indicated otherwise, source: Erste Asset Management GmbH. The language of communication of the sales offices is German and the languages of communication of the Management Company also include English.

The prospectus for UCITS funds (including any amendments) is prepared and published in accordance with the provisions of the InvFG 2011 as amended. Information for Investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG is prepared for the alternative investment funds (AIF) administered by Erste Asset Management GmbH pursuant to the provisions of the AIFMG in conjunction with the InvFG 2011.

The currently valid versions of the prospectus, the Information for Investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG, and the key information document can be found on the website under “Mandatory publications” and can be obtained free of charge by interested investors at the offices of the Management Company and at the offices of the depositary bank. The exact date of the most recent publication of the prospectus, the languages in which the key information document is available, and any other locations where the documents can be obtained are indicated on the website A summary of the investor rights is available in German and English on the website and can also be obtained from the Management Company.

The Management Company can decide to suspend the provisions it has taken for the sale of unit certificates in other countries in accordance with the regulatory requirements.

Note: You are about to purchase a product that may be difficult to understand. We recommend that you read the indicated fund documents before making an investment decision. In addition to the locations listed above, you can obtain these documents free of charge at the offices of the referring Sparkassen bank and the offices of Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG. You can also access these documents electronically at

N.B.: The performance scenarios listed in the key information document are based on a calculation method that is specified in an EU regulation. The future market development cannot be accurately predicted. The depicted performance scenarios merely present potential earnings, but are based on the earnings in the recent past. The actual earnings may be lower than indicated. Our analyses and conclusions are general in nature and do not take into account the individual characteristics of our investors in terms of earnings, taxation, experience and knowledge, investment objective, financial position, capacity for loss, and risk tolerance.

Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of the future performance of a fund. Investments in securities entail risks in addition to the opportunities presented here. The value of units and their earnings can rise and fall. Changes in exchange rates can also have a positive or negative effect on the value of an investment. For this reason, you may receive less than your originally invested amount when you redeem your units. Persons who are interested in purchasing units in investment funds are advised to read the current fund prospectus(es) and the Information for Investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG, especially the risk notices they contain, before making an investment decision. If the fund currency is different than the investor’s home currency, changes in the relevant exchange rate can positively or negatively influence the value of the investment and the amount of the costs associated with the fund in the home currency.

We are not permitted to directly or indirectly offer, sell, transfer, or deliver this financial product to natural or legal persons whose place of residence or domicile is located in a country where this is legally prohibited. In this case, we may not provide any product information, either.

Please consult the corresponding information in the fund prospectus and the Information for Investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG for restrictions on the sale of the fund to American or Russian citizens.

It is expressly noted that this communication does not provide any investment recommendations, but only expresses our current market assessment. Thus, this communication is not a substitute for investment advice, does not take into account the legal regulations aimed at promoting the independence of financial analyses, and is not subject to a prohibition on trading following the distribution of financial analyses.

This document does not represent a sales activity of the Management Company and therefore may not be construed as an offer for the purchase or sale of financial or investment instruments.

Erste Asset Management GmbH is affiliated with the referring Sparkassen banks and Erste Bank.

Please also read the “Information about us and our securities services” published by your bank.

Subject to misprints and errors.