With the threats of limiting alcohol advertising and marketing becoming increasingly loud, the global alcohol industry is becoming more proactive in promoting a culture of responsible alcohol use.
With that in mind, the world’s leading producers of beer, wine and spirits have agreed to a new series of actions in five key areas designed to strengthen and expand existing efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
A major part of that drive is to “strengthen and expand marketing codes of practice that are rooted in our resolve not to engage in marketing that could encourage excessive and irresponsible consumption, with a particular focus on digital marketing”.
“I – and my fellow CEOs – believe that this programme of actions is concrete, deliverable and, most importantly, capable of being measured and evaluated,” said Pierre Pringuet, vice-chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Pernod Ricard. “As the CEOs of our global companies, we want to have a role in working to limit harmful drinking and intend to implement these commitments with the same passion and professionalism that we invest in all of our other business activities and goals.”
The targeted actions over the next five years include:
· Reducing underage drinking, via enforcement of current laws and encouraging governments to introduce and enforce minimum purchase ages
· Continuing to strengthen and expand marketing codes of practice that are rooted in our resolve not to engage in marketing that could encourage excessive and irresponsible consumption, with a particular focus on digital marketing
· Making responsible product innovations and developing easily understood symbols or equivalent words to discourage drinking and driving and consumption by pregnant women and underage youth
· Reducing drinking and driving by collaborating with governments and non-governmental organisations to educate and enforce existing laws
· Enlisting the support of retailers to reduce harmful drinking and create ‘guiding principles of responsible beverage alcohol retailing’
The commitments will be implemented over a five-year time period beginning in 2013; a professionally qualified third party will audit the companies’ compliance throughout this time. In addition, participating companies will report to the global community on an annual basis regarding progress.
Marcus Grant, president of International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), and Mark Leverton, director general of the Global Alcohol Producers Group (GAPG), both whom worked with the companies to develop these commitments, agreed that strengthening marketing codes in digital media and working to reduce underage drinking are two particularly important steps.
“Over several years, the leadership of the world’s leading producers of beer, wine and spirits have collaborated on a number of initiatives designed to support the WHO’s focus on reducing harmful drinking and its impacts, ” said Mark Leverton. “Moving forward with a new round of programmes to further address challenging issues highlights the commitments that these leading industry members are taking for continued progress in this area.
“Many of these commitments are closely tied to the core functions in how these companies operate, and are being made in addition to the many programs already underway to address critical issues in developing nations such as drink driving, strengthening codes of responsible marketing of alcohol, and studying the health and economic impact of the production of illicit alcohol,” noted Marcus Grant. “Equally important is the commitment to rigorous standards of evaluation, which are intended to help assure that these efforts are being put in place in a timely way that meets the intended goals.”
The companies and CEOs making the commitments include:
· Carlos Brito, Anheuser-Busch InBev
· Ed Shirley, Bacardi
· Matt Shattock, Beam
· Akiyoshi Koji, Brewers Association of Japan
· Paul Varga, Brown-Forman
· Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, Carlsberg
· Paul Walsh, Diageo
· Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, Heineken
· Yasunori Aiba, Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association
· Peter Swinburn, Molson Coors
· Pierre Pringuet, Pernod Ricard
· Graham Mackay, SABMiller
· Ashok Capoor, UB Group