World’s leading drinks producers agree efforts to reduced harmful use of alcohol

A series of actions designed to strengthen and expand existing efforts to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, have been agreed by the world’s leading producers of beer, wine and spirits.

Ten 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’

Pernod Ricard vice-chairman of the board and CEO Pierre Pringuet said: “I and my fellow CEOs believe that this programme of actions is concrete, deliverable and, most importantly, capable of being measured and evaluated.

“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,” said Pringuet

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.

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

The commitments build on the signatory companies’ longstanding efforts to discourage harmful drinking through initiatives and partnerships around the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Pringuet announced the collective pledge at Global Actions: Initiatives to Reduce Harmful Drinking, an international conference hosted by the International Centre for Alcohol Policy (ICAP). In addition to featuring these future commitments, the event comprehensively reported on the industry actions in support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.

Marcus Grant, president of 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.