WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - CEOs of the leading global producers of beer, wine and spirits today released a report highlighting the progress on their unprecedented initiative to reduce harmful drinking. At the two-year mark of the five-year program, the Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers' Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking (http://www.producerscommitments.org) has shown progress in key areas including helping to reduce underage drinking, prevent drink driving, and strengthen and expand marketing codes of practice to promote responsible drinking.
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Notable in the report is the producers' progress in supporting the reduction of underage drinking. Signatory companies have undertaken 180 underage drinking prevention education programs around the world. The Beer, Wine, and Spirits producers helped drive the development of a legal purchasing age policy in Vietnam in 2014.
"We believe that addressing harmful drinking must involve all sectors of society-governments, civil society, and the private sector-and are therefore pleased that the CEOs of the major alcohol-producing companies have agreed to a set of five commitments to address harmful drinking in a five-year program of work," said Ann Keeling, President/CEO, International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), which serves as Secretariat to the Commitments. "IARD welcomes other alcohol-producing companies and retailers to join us in scaling up this effort and invites partners from government, civil society, and international organizations to read this report and see how we can collaborate to find solutions."
"Our companies are represented in more than 100 countries, and we are committed to making a positive and lasting contribution through our joint efforts in all of the markets in which we operate," said Carlos Brito, Commitments CEO Group Chair and CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev. "Our Commitments are a good starting point to help reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol globally; but to take the impact of our work to the next level, we need to expand this collective approach to also include other beer, wine and spirits companies, as well as retailers, governments, international organizations, and local community groups. We are working hard to bring these partnerships together so that we can have an even greater impact in our efforts to reduce harmful drinking."
The Commitments represent the largest ever industry-wide initiative to address harmful drinking. The 2014 Progress Report, based on key performance indicators developed by Accenture Sustainability Services, was assured by KPMG Sustainability. The report examines the gains made on multiple identified action areas. Progress areas include:
- Reaching more people around the world in more ways than ever before with education and tools to reduce harmful drinking. Collectively, education programs resulting from signatories' work with NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, and other interested stakeholders have directly reached more than 2.58 million underage individuals. Adult influencer outreach efforts leapt from roughly half a million to 3.26 million. New tools included significant development to the construction of a consumer website, http://www.responsibledrinking.org, which provides user-friendly, factual information on responsible drinking.
- Creating ongoing global impact through drink driving prevention efforts. Through both individual and collective work, beer, wine and spirits producers launched 375 unique drink driving efforts in 146 countries. In partnership with IARD, producers launched a series of successful pilot programs aimed at reducing drink driving in China, Colombia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Vietnam. Created in partnership with governments, civil society organizations and NGOs, these culturally-specific programs focused on increasing public awareness, building stronger relationships with law enforcement, and targeting specific groups of drivers at high risk for drink driving.
- Launching a set of Digital Guiding Principles in September 2014. The Principles marked the first-ever set of global guidelines for beverage alcohol producers to require online marketing and social media use to meet the same high standards that apply to traditional marketing activities. These standards include adhering to the 70/30 rule, which establishes that advertisements in print, broadcast and digital media should have a minimum 70 percent adult audience.
- Launching an Alcohol Education Guide in October 2014. Crafted with the guidance of an expert panel that based the work on best practices from around the world, the Guide supports step-by-step development of alcohol education programs with interactive, comprehensive, and user-friendly resources. The Guide provides users with examples of good practice programs that can be replicated or adapted for different audiences.
The Progress Report also outlines the work that lies ahead for the duration of the initiative, including expanding collective drink driving efforts to other countries; continuing work in targeted countries that do not have a legal purchase age; and continuing to collaborate with major international retailers to best define their role in supporting the goal of reducing harmful drinking. In 66 of the 117 countries where Commitments signatories are active, at least one signatory is working on moving forward retail initiatives to reduce harmful drinking.
The producers initially signed the Commitments in October 2012, when they agreed to undertake a series of actions over five years (beginning in 2013) with the goal of strengthening and expanding existing efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The five commitments address:
- Reducing underage drinking
- Strengthening and expanding marketing codes of practice
- Providing consumer information and responsible product innovation
- Reducing drinking and driving
- Enlisting the support of retailers to reduce harmful drinking
IARD and the producers also support the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol and welcome the positive role it identifies for producers, distributers, marketers, and sellers of beer, wine, and spirits.
Watch an excerpt of the CEOs panel discussion on their achievements: Producers' Commitments
What is IARD?
IARD is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to addressing the global public health issue of harmful drinking and promoting responsible drinking. As a contributing risk factor for three major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), reducing harmful drinking is a priority for the world's governments, as set out in the WHO Global Action Plan on NCDs and the UN Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs. IARD supports implementation of the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol and the constructive role Member States have identified for producers.
As a global public health NGO, we partner with public, civil society, and private stakeholders to advance our mission of contributing to the reduction of harmful drinking and promoting responsible drinking worldwide. IARD supports implementation of the global target set by the world's governments of "at least 10% relative reduction in the harmful use of alcohol" by 2025. IARD is supported by its Member Companies from all sectors of the alcohol industry - beer, wine, and spirits - in their common purpose of being part of the solution to the harmful use of alcohol.
The 12 signatories of the Commitments are: Anheuser-Busch InBev; Asahi Group Holdings; Bacardi; Beam Suntory; Brown-Forman Corporation; Carlsberg; Diageo; Heineken; Kirin Holdings Company; Molson Coors; Pernod Ricard; and SABMiller.
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SOURCE International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD)
For further information: For inquiries about IARD, please contact: Isabella Platon, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Communications, IPlaton@IARD.org