Pernod Ricard extends responsible drinking campaign

Pernod Ricard has renewed its partnership with the Erasmus Students Network on raising awareness of responsible drinking for students within Europe.

The programme, called Responsible Party, was first launched in 2007 and Pernod Ricard CEO, Alexandre Ricard, took part in a debate in Brussles earlier this week before signing up to the programme for another year.

The programme is renewed annually to coordinate with the yearly elections within the ESN and the initiative has now reached 367, 000 students across the continent.

Speaking to DI about the subject of responsible drinking, Ricard said: “We will never be fundamentally satisfied because it’s an on going process, it’s something we need to be focused on forever.”

Senior members of the ESN and European Commission joined Ricard on the panel of experts for the open debate with students involved in the ESN.

According to data collected by Erasmus, 80% of students who were exposed to the programme believe it is an efficient way of reducing alcohol consumption among students.

The students involved in the ESN have been hosting a variety of events such as boat parties in Sweden, cycling challenges in the Netherlands and in Croatia, they are targeting the sports societies to promote responsible alcohol consumption.

Pernod Ricard has made the decision not put any of its own branding on the programme despite receiving mixed reviews in a special report launched by Euractiv in December 2017.

Within the report, Mariann Skar, secretary-general of the European Alcohol Policy Alliance, said: “As far as we understand it, Pernod Ricard has agreed not to have their logo on the products of this campaign. However, since all those involved in this agreement are well aware of the links, it appears to be a good promotional exercise for Pernod Ricard.”

Pernod Ricard is one of the world’s leading premium spirits companies and owns international brands such as Chivas Regal, Absolute Vodka, Beefeater gin and Havana Club.

Ricard added: “Our objective here is not to have some branding on Pernod Ricard. Our objective is to show that by empowering people through education and communication, things can improve.

“Responsible Party is a programme which is proving to be efficient. We strongly believe we are part of the solution because we know our products, and we’re extremely credible. As a CEO of the company I’m credible when I say that the excessive use of alcohol can be extremely negative.”

During the debate, the subject of ingredients and calorie content being printed on labels was raised and Ricard responded by pointing out that every bottle of spirit under the Pernod Ricard portfolio is available online.

Another subject addressed to the panel was that of spirit branding being replaced with anti-drinking campaigns – similar to the tobacco industry.

However, the panel successfully explained that the responsible use of alcohol does not have the same health risks which tobacco use does.

Ricard added: “The responsible use of alcohol is fine, which is what I do, and I’m happy. The industry as a whole is responsible.

“I like attending parties where people are responsible, where they’re having fun. But a party where people have drunk too much and are having fights, it’s not a party.”