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In the UK, the Retail Bulletin reports that Wal-Mart’s Asda Group has announced a series of measures designed to address concerns about underage binge drinking. The chain has said that it will stop selling booze between midnight and 6 am, is strengthening its age verification procedures, and will use an independent auditor to make sure that it is meeting its goals.

The announcement comes just days after Tesco called on the British government to pass legislation that would make it illegal to sell alcohol at cut-rate prices, which Tesco believes is critical to stopping the binge drinking trend.

Asda CEO Andy Bond, however, disagrees with the Tesco conclusions. “I believe our targeted measures will go a long way towards tackling the issue of underage sales, and alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour … Unlike some in the industry I am also not prepared to hide behind calls for more legislation. I believe there are plenty of things we can do now to start tackling this important social issue, which is why we are announcing these measures today.”

KC's View:
I agree with Bond on this – companies should never wait for governments to handle their problems, but rather should get ahead of governments on issues whenever possible.

I also love something else Bond said: “As a parent myself I find it unacceptable that children in the UK are still able to purchase alcohol from retailers and pubs. So from today we are adopting a zero-tolerance approach.”

Business people sometimes forget when they get to work that they also are parents. So it is refreshing when a senior executive makes the opposite point – that parental responsibilities don't stop when you leave the house.